The Congress and the Janata Dal (United) on Wednesday said they will participate in the upcoming municipal and panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir, PTI reported. They have appealed to Governor Satya Pal Malik to provide adequate security to their candidates. The Congress, however, added that it may review the decision if the administration does not address its concerns over security.

“We are going to fight the urban local body and panchayat polls, and our candidates in north Kashmir’s Kupwara and Baramulla districts have already started getting forms from the authorities concerned,” Janata Dal (United) state president GM Shaheen said.

State Congress chief GA Mir said the party cannot “allow a field day” to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. “We will contest the local bodies and panchayat elections with full might to stop communal forces from occupying the institutions of grassroots level democracy,” he said.

The Congress had sent three delegations to the governor expressing its concerns about the security of candidates but the government is yet to respond, said Mir. “If this issue is not addressed, Congress party will deliberate and discuss it,” he said. “We will be within our rights to review the decision.”

Shaheen said the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party were indulging in politics by boycotting the local elections. “Otherwise, why did the two parties take part in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council polls?” he asked.

Both the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party have announced their decision to not contest the polls. While Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP urged the central government to reconsider its decision to conduct the polls, the National Conference said it would boycott elections until the Centre clarifies its position on Article 35A of the Constitution.

“They know the people are fed up with them and took the escape route,” Shaheen said. “If they believe in what they say, then they should boycott the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls as well. But I know they will not do that and will be in the forefront during those elections.”

He said the voters were angry at the Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government for failing on all fronts during their rule. He also alleged that the BJP had failed despite being in power in the state as well as the Centre.

The Janata Dal (United) is in alliance with the BJP in Bihar.

The Jammu and Kashmir panchayat elections will be held in nine phases between November 17 and December 11, while elections to municipal bodies will be held in four phases between October 8 and October 16. The state has been under Governor’s Rule since June, when the BJP pulled out of the PDP-led government.