Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik's remark favouring a particular individual for the post of mayor of Srinagar were being presented in a distorted manner as the local bodies elections in the state are being conducted in a fair and transparent way, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson Thursday said. He was referring to Malik's interview to NDTV in which he had hinted that a "foreign-educated person" was going to become the mayor of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC). The spokesperson said the governor's administration made it clear in unequivocal terms that the ongoing process for the urban and rural local bodies polls in the state are being conducted in a free, fair and the most transparent manner and the outcome will be exclusively in the hands of the people.
"Over the past three days, ever since the governor gave a live interview to a TV channel in Delhi, there has been a persistent attempt by that channel and certain other channels to play up one part of the interview in a distorted manner leading to a flurry of allegations that the governor has already decided that a certain candidate will be the mayor of Srinagar," the spokesperson said. He said the governor had just said that he has information about the likelihood of a certain candidate becoming mayor and how if it happens, it will upset some political parties. "This possibility too has been a topic in media for quite some time. In a discussion on the boycott of the polls by two local parties and the impact of the polls on them, this is a simple statement on a possible outcome which may be inconvenient to them if it happens," he said.
The spokesperson said that in no way can the statement of the governor be construed to mean that he has either decided the mayor of Srinagar or is involved in the electoral process. "The electoral process is in the hands of an independent chief electoral officer who is responsible for conducting a free and fair poll. That is what he is doing, along with officials involved in the electoral process. The mayor of Srinagar is to be elected by the councilors of the Municipal Corporation of Srinagar and that is not a pre-determined outcome. "The governor has no role in the election either of councilors, and even less so, in the election of the mayor," the spokesperson said.