J&K Assembly polls under active consideration: ECI

J&K Assembly polls under active consideration: ECI

Ishtyaq Ahmad

Srinagar, May 17 : The Election Commission of India said that it is regularly monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir for appropriate time to conduct the Assembly polls.

Top sources in the election commission told that the Commission is expected to take a call soon on holding Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, which were deferred during announcement of Parliament polls on March 10 by it citing security reasons.

“Commission is ready to hold the assembly elections, but final decision has to be taken in consultations with the MHA officials and the State Government representatives as all stakeholders must be ready for the exercise,” sources maintained.

The Commission had already held meeting with the MHA officials besides with state government top officials.

The three Special Observers including Noor Mohammad, retired IAS officer, Vinod Zutshi, retired Deputy Election Commissioner and AS Gill, retired IPS officer, had already submitted their report to the Commission giving options to the poll body on conduct of Assembly elections in the State.

The Observers had suggested three options including holding the Assembly election in June between Eid and Amarnath Ji yatra, September-October i.e. after completion of pilgrimage and Monsoon or November-December like 2008 and 2004 when Nomads also return to the plains from upper reaches and can cast their votes, which would increase the voter turnout.

The annual Amarnath pilgrimage will start on July 1 and culminate on August 15.

As per the Election Commission guidelines, the Assembly elections had to be held within six months of dissolution of the House, that is before May 21, 2019 as previous Assembly was dissolved on November 21, 2018 by Governor Satya Pal Malik following claims and counter claims by two fronts-one led by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and another by Sajjad Lone’s People’s Conference-to form the Government. However, the Election Commission can defer the Assembly elections beyond six months in view of security considerations.

Governor’s rule was imposed in the State on June 19, 2018 following withdrawal of support to Mehbooba Mufti-led Government by the BJP. After expiry of six months term of Governor’s rule, the State came under the President’s rule on December 19, 2018, which too will expire on June 19, 2019.

If new Government is not formed till June 19, the Central Government had to extend the term of President’s rule by another six months. (KNS) 

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