EC Defers Decision On Assembly Polls

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SRINAGAR — The Election Commission of India on Tuesday deferred its decision regarding conduct of the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.  

After a meeting in New Delhi, the Commission said it will seek “further clarification from MHA on certain aspects” regarding the assembly polls. The poll conducting body also said it will seek opinion of an eminent legal expert in the context of ongoing President’s Rule in the state before talking the decision on assembly elections in the state. 

“It was decided to seek further clarification on certain aspects of the issue from Ministry of Home Affairs,” the EC said. “It was also decided to seek the opinion of an eminent Legal Expert in the context of ongoing President’s Rule in Jammu & Kashmir,” she said. 

J&K has been functioning without an elected government since the PDP-BJP coalition fell apart in June, 2018. The new Lok Sabha will have to extend the President’s rule on June 20, 2019 if an elected government is not in place before then. 

The home ministry and the state administration have proposed the September-October period for elections citing the tourist season, the holy month of Ramzan and the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra in the Valley, which will begin on July 1.

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

Since the Assembly has been dissolved, the election commission was bound to hold fresh polls there within a six-month period, which will end in May.

The government of India 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 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.

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