Bharatiya Janata Party National General Secretary Ram Madhav claimed on Friday that activists of the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party were trying to derail the local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir, just like militants.

The 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 National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party have decided to boycott the elections, citing concerns about the Centre’s stand on Article 35A, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The article, incorporated into the Constitution in 1954, grants special rights and privileges to the residents of the state.

“Terrorists and over-ground workers are involved in derailing and destabilising polls,” Madhav said at a press conference at the BJP headquarters in Jammu, PTI reported. “The same is being done by the workers of National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party.”

He claimed that the BJP had reports that the workers of these parties were threatening candidates who wanted to file nominations as Independents. The saffron party had complained to the administration and the police, he added.

“They are undertaking proxy nominations in these polls,” Madhav said of National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party workers. “We still welcome them.We have to make this election successful.”

Madhav said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir want grassroots democracy in the state. “People want the democratic set up at the grassroots level,” he said. “We appeal to the people of Kashmir Valley that they should stand with those who want installation of grassroots democracy by voting in large numbers.”

Madhav claimed that the parties which had boycotted the polls are uninterested in Jammu, Ladakh and parts of north Kashmir, “but only in the demands of terrorists and succumbing to the demands of terrorists”.

The BJP general secretary said that most candidates of the party are Kashmiri locals, with only a few migrants contesting from migrant population wards.

He also welcomed the decision of the Congress to contest the elections. “We are happy that the Congress is contesting elections because we thought they will also join the two Kashmir-centric parties in boycotting polls,” he said. “They have taken the right decision to contest the elections. We praise them for that.”