Can’t Hold Anantnag Bypoll: Govt To EC

New Delhi—The Jammu and Kashmir government has conveyed to the Election Commission of India that the situation in the state is still not conducive enough to hold a by poll in the sensitive Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency.

The seat fell vacant after Mehbooba Mufti resigned as MP to become chief minister of the state last year.

The state government has claimed that violent incidents continue on a regular basis and the situation is not conducive for a peaceful conduct of the by poll, sources told an online portal.

The latest report from the state government could mean that the election can only be held after March next year, they added.

The assessment has come at a time when the Modi government has appointed a new interlocutor for the state to help resolve the political deadlock involving separatist groups.

Earlier this week, the J&K High Court also sought a reply from the EC, the state administration and the home ministry on the delay in holding the by poll.

The Election Commission had written to the state in September seeking a report on the security situation. The poll panel usually does not seek reports from an election-bound state on by poll schedule unless a security concern is specifically involved.

The EC was keen to hold the by poll in Anantnag before 15 November after which heavy snowfall makes it difficult.

The commission had postponed the Anantnag by-election twice — in April as well as May this year — in the wake of the poll violence in Srinagar constituency. While the Srinagar by poll was scheduled for 9 April, Anantnag was originally to go to polls on 12 April.

However, things took a violent turn on 9 April when Srinagar recorded a mere 7 per cent voter turnout in a by-election in which eight people were killed.

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