At ECI Meet, CEO Suggests Early Polls In J&K: Report

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SRINAGAR — Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has suggested early assembly elections in the State, assuring full preparedness, in a presentation made to the Election Commission of India (ECI) in New Delhi two days ago.

Official sources said CEO Shailendra Kumar made an elaborate presentation, putting forth the “pros and cons” of early or delayed elections.

An official said Mr. Kumar suggested early elections as the urban local bodies and the panchayat elections have set the ball rolling in the State. The panchayat elections in November-December saw less violence and more participation than the ULB polls held just a month earlier in October, according to officials. Mr. Kumar said the conditions were “conducive for early elections.”

Kumar apprised the ECI of the “improved security situation” in the backdrop of the killing of over 260 militants, including all major commanders, in J&K in 2018.

Sources said the ECI was mulling over holding assembly and Parliament elections together.

The ECI did not hold Parliament elections for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in January last year after political parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party, warned against it citing the “deteriorating situation on the ground and rising civilian killings near encounter sites”.

Later, J&K came first under Governor’s rule and then President’s rule after the PDP-BJP government fell apart in June last year.

J&K has been without an elected government for around seven months now. Both the NC and the PDP are demanding early elections in the State.

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