Amid Indo-Pak tension, a team of the Election Commission of India (ECI) headed by Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Sharma was on a two-day visit to the Valley to review the preparedness for the upcoming Parliamentary polls in the state. The team held meetings with leaders of J&K political to solicit their opinion about the polls and took stock of the prevailing security situation, more so, after the Pulwama attack which killed over 40 CRPF personnel and the current Indo-Pak stand-off. Almost all mainstream political parties told the visiting team to hold the Lok Sabha and assembly elections together to end the prevailing uncertainty in the state. And in doing so, the parties have reflected the public mood.
Over the past some months, the people have become increasingly become sceptical about the Governors administration. The reason for this is that the state government has forayed into areas which are not its domain. Its arbitrary pursuit of introducing new laws and revoking the old and publicly supported laws is not what any government is supposed to do, let alone a Governor’s administration. Governor’s administration is a make-shift arrangement until a democratically elected government is formed. It is not supposed to make laws, except those which are essential to run the affairs of the government. But this is what the Govenors administration is doing, the latest being recommending to centre the contentious amendments to the constitution to provide reservations to the tribes living alongside the International Border. So, people fear the worst in case the current administration is allowed to continue on the pretext of the deteriorating security scenario in the state.
A simultaneous Assembly and Parliament election will be a best possible scenario for the state. Elections are anyway a fraught time for the state, more so, for the Valley. It leads to rise in violence which, in turn, detrimentally affects the everyday peace and the economy. Now that the Parliament election has to be necessarily held by the middle of this year, it would be good for the state if the Assembly polls too are held concurrently. This would save the state from a long period of disruption.
In any case, the Election Commission team will take a decision on the polls based on the feedback from the state government and the political parties. The state government will be expected to take on board the opinion of the central government. However, as of now it appears that the central government has not formed any definite opinion on the issue. But the Election Commission being the autonomous body it would be expected to take a decision based on the ground situation and the feeback from the political parties. As for the security situation is concerned, if the local bodies and panchayat polls could be held, there is no reason simultaneous parliament and Assembly polls cant be held.