JK Assembly elections not to be held simultaneously with Lok Sabha polls


Suhail Khan

SRINAGAR, Mar 16: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar stated on Saturday that the Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir will not be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections due to security issues and legislative hurdles.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi to announce the Lok Sabha polls schedule and the polls for 4 state assemblies, CEC Rajiv Kumar, as per Kashmir Despatch Correspondent, said that only 4 states will go to the polls along with Lok Sabha, and there will be no assembly polls in J&K.

He stated that assembly polls will be held in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh along with the Lok Sabha elections.

“The Lok Sabha polls will begin on April 19 and will be held in 7 phases. Counting of votes will be held on June 04,” he said.

CEC Rajiv Kumar mentioned that polls to the 5 Lok Sabha constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in 5 phases, with only one J&K constituency going to polls in each phase. The first phase will be held on April 19, the second on April 26, the third on May 7, the fourth on May 13, the fifth on May 20, the sixth on May 25, and the seventh on June 01.

According to the schedule, Udhampur LS seat will go to polls on April 19, Jammu on April 26, Anantnag-Rajouri on May 7, Srinagar on May 13, and Baramulla on May 20.

Regarding the non-holding of Assembly elections in J&K, Mr. Kumar explained, “The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act was passed in 2019. There was a provision for 107 seats, 24 of which were in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Then the delimitation commission came, and there was a change in the seats…. The reorganisation Act and delimitation were not in sync. That happened in December 2023. So our meter started running from December 2023.”

“All parties in Jammu and Kashmir said the Assembly election should be held with the parliamentary polls, but the entire administrative machinery said it cannot be done simultaneously. Every Assembly segment would have 10-12 candidates, which would mean more than 1,000 candidates. Every candidate has to be provided forces. It was not possible at this time,” he added.

“But we stand committed that as soon as these elections are over, we will hold elections there,” he asserted.

Mr. Kumar noted that political parties have previously wanted both elections to be held together. “Majority of political parties we met in Srinagar and Jammu demanded that Assembly and Lok Sabha polls be held simultaneously. We will take a final call after a thorough security review and consultations with the political parties. We want early Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in J&K,” he said, adding that the ECI was “fully prepared for the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls scheduled to be held this year.”

The team led by Mr. Kumar met representatives of national and regional parties in J&K, including BJP, CPI(M), Indian National Congress, National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, and J&K Apni Party.

Meanwhile, CEC Rajiv Kumar also welcomed two newly appointed commissioners—Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhvir Singh, stating that “our team is now complete.” “We are committed to giving the nation a truly festive atmosphere for polls.

He mentioned that there are 97 crore registered voters, more than the combined voters of a few continents. Over 10.5 lakh polling stations, 1.5 crore polling officials, security officials. More than 55 lakh EVMs, 4 lakh vehicles.

He emphasized that there is no place for bloodbath and violence in the elections. “From wherever we receive information of violence, we will take action against them…

The election commissioner disclosed that for sustainable polls, directions were given to the election machinery and parties on waste management, minimum paper use, and reducing carbon footprint. He also mentioned mandating a minimum number of polling booths nationwide to be run entirely by PwDs and women, including women security staff.

He highlighted the challenges of Muscle, Money, Misinformation, and MCC violations (4Ms) and stated that the ECI is dedicated to addressing these challenges with effective measures.

The election commissioner reminded ahead of the polls, “Remember, ‘Verify Before You Amplify’ is the mantra to combat fake news. Let’s rely on authoritative sources to ensure accurate information prevails. Stay vigilant and help us maintain the integrity of the electoral process.”

He further added that masquerading advertisements as news is not allowed, and there should be a refrain from personal attacks.

Suhail Khan
Suhail Khanhttps://www.kashmirdespatch.com

Suhail Khan is a filmmaker, content writer, and freelance journalist.


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