ECI Meet: J&K Admin Favours LA Polls In November

SRINAGAR — Top officials of the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday met Election Commission (EC) officials regarding Assembly polls in the state. 

The state officials are learnt to have urged the poll body to conduct the Assembly polls in November and not during the summer. 

The state administration cited Ramzan, tourist season, and Bakerwal migration as reasons for advancing the polls to November this year, sources said. The meeting took place days after the three special observers appointed by the EC submitted their report on the possibility of holding Assembly polls in the state.

Official sources said the “full commission” comprising the chief election commissioner and two fellow commissioners will meet here on April 30 to discuss the possible dates of the Assembly polls.

“Commission has not taken any decision with regard to conduct of assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir,” said ECI’s Chief spokesperson.

She said that Commission is holding meeting every Friday and Tuesday. “The agenda of the upcoming meeting on Tuesday will be assembly polls in the state of J&K.”

She said that there was no decision with regard to the assembly elections in the meeting attended by chief election commissioner J&K Shailender Kumar and Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra. Several senior officers were also present.

The state chief electoral officer had met the deputy election commissioner concerned on Thursday, ahead of Friday’s meet.

On March 10, when the EC had announced the schedule for the ongoing Lok Sabha election, it had said the polls to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly will not be held simultaneously. It had cited the law-and-order situation in the state for delaying the Assembly polls.

Since the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has been dissolved, the EC is bound to hold fresh polls there within a six-month period, which will end in May.

The Centre and the state administration, being managed by the Centre-appointed governor, were against holding the two elections together.

However, all political parties in the state spoke in favour of simultaneous polls during a meeting with the EC.

The six-year term of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was to end on March 16, 2021, but it got dissolved after the ruling coalition between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fell apart.

Poll Authorities Withdraw Order For Info About Nodal Officers  

The election authorities Friday withdrew an order within hours after they had asked the district election officers to submit information about district level nodal officers for 2019 assembly elections in the state within two days.

The order had given rise to speculations that assembly polls in the state, which is currently under President’s Rule, might be held soon after the Lok Sabha elections.

“The letter no. 4876/CEO/Elec/2019/3060-82 dated 26.04.2019 regarding the subject mentioned above stands withdrawn ab-initio,” additional chief electoral officer of Jammu and Kashmir said in a letter to all district election officers of the state.

Earlier, the election official had written to district election officers to submit list of district level nodal officers within two days.

“I am directed to enclose herewith a format for submission of information regarding district level nodal officers for forthcoming assembly elections 2019 and request you to submit the same within two days positively,” the official had said in the letter which was later withdrawn.

Jammu and Kashmir was placed under Governor’s Rule, as provided by the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, on June 19, 2018, after the BJP withdrew from its coalition with the PDP.

As mandated by the Constitution, the state was brought under President’s Rule on December 19, 2018, which will have to be extended for a period of six months on May 19, 2019, or till an elected government is put in place, whichever is earlier.

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