Alleging that the security of its leaders was being "scaled down" by the government, opposition National Conference (NC) today asked the Election Commission (EC) to ensure a safe and conducive atmosphere for by-polls to two Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir. "As far as the current situation is concerned, we see that the security of our party leaders is being scaled down rather than being increased. Questions over security to sarpanches had been raised but I am telling you that the security of my former legislators and former ministers is being withdrawn," NC leader Omar Abdullah told reporters here. He claimed that when former ministers wish to visit their areas, they get security only after repeated requests. "In this situation, the EC expects us to fight elections.
It should ensure that the atmosphere is conducive for elections," Omar, a former J&K chief minister, said. The EC should ensure that those who want to take part in the elections as candidates or campaigners should get full security, he said, after a meeting of NC core group to discuss the upcoming bypolls. The Srinagar parliamentary constituency will go to polls on April 9 and polling in Anantnag will be held on April 12. The core group has left the decision (on candidates) on party president Farooq Abdullah, Omar said adding that when he decided an announcement would be made. Asked whether the party has finalised a seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress party, Omar replied that "as of now there is no such thing". He however added that every option has been debated upon and the pros and cons analyzed. "Let s see now, what decision Farooq takes," he said. On a question about protests and stone-pelting near encounter sites, the former chief minister said the issue would not get resolved by threatening the youth. "The Government should deal with this situation. Since the past two years, these kinds of reports are constantly coming that youth and locals of those areas were trying to disrupt the encounters, there should be some way to make them understand. Threatening them has not succeeded," Omar said.