ECI Defers Visit To J&K, Casts Doubt On Early Polls 

SRINAGAR — The Election Commission of India (ECI) has deferred its visit to Jammu and Kashmir, suggesting that the assembly polls in the state might be delayed.

According to the sources, a team of ECI was planning to visit both Jammu and Kashmir divisions on January 27 and 28 for on spot assessment of the situation regarding the holding of assembly elections.

The team, headed by Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora, was to take a final call on whether to hold simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the State or defer the Assembly elections by few months.

However, the sources confirmed the team has postponed its visit to the state due to unknown reasons.

Chief Electoral Officer, Jammu and Kashmir, Shailendra Kumar couldn’t be reached for a comment.

A source, however, said that the crucial meeting was held in New Delhi by the ECI where in the situation was assessed threadbare and it has decided to put the decision as to whether the polls should be held on time or delayed.

 “For a time being,, it was decided to put the decision on hold till wider consultations with various political parties, police and the intelligence grid are completed,” an official said. “The final call whether JK should witness early polls will be taken in a fortnight.”

Though the entire mainstream camp, National Conference, Congress and the Peoples Conference besides independent candidates support early polls, PDP is the sole party that is not in the poll mode due to the mass rebellion party has faced of late.

The ECI, as per sources, have been told by the security agencies operating in Kashmir that there was no threat to the polls except some pockets in south Kashmir being sensitive “that could be taken care of by the security agencies as witnessed in recently held peaceful and successful ULB and Panchayat polls.” 

“ECI has decided not to jump gun and instead widen the ambit of consultations before taking a final call,” a top security official disclosed.


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