Assembly Polls To Be Held Next Year: Report

KO File Photo: Abid Bhat

Srinagar: The Narendra Modi led Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is keen to hold assembly polls early next year in the Union Territory and has conveyed it’s plans to the political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, reports said Thursday.

The delimitation Commission would complete its mandate of redrawing constituencies much earlier before their term ends in March next year, a local news agency reported Thursday while quoting unnamed sources.

The Centre has given a one-year extension to the Delimitation Commission, set up in March last year to redraw the electoral constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh.

The notification issued in March had extended the term of the delimitation commission by one year and the panel would look only into the delimitation of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir had come into existence in October 2019 after the Centre abrogated the special status of the erstwhile state in August that year and announced its reorganisation.

Before Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act in August 2019, the effective strength of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was 87, including four seats from Ladakh, which is now a separate Union Territory without a legislature. The strength of the realigned Jammu and Kashmir Assembly is 107 now with 24 seats to continue to remain vacant as that fall in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir (PcK).

The report quoted sources as saying that the National Conference may now revisit its decision and may likely be a part of delimitation Commission Proceedings.

Quoting a top political leader, the report said that in March they were earlier told by GOI to start their political activities as assembly elections will be held by the end of this year.

“However the Covid wave disturbed everything and the plan of holding elections by the end of the year was deferred,” he said.

“Recently we were advised to start political activities. If there will be no third Covid wave in J&K as is being predicted across the country, then the central Government told us that elections can happen in November or December also.”

Quoting another politician, the report said that the meeting by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi was recently convened to discuss the holding of elections.

The Lieutenant Governor (LG) Sinha, outgoing J&K chief secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, his successor Arun Mehta, Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Arvind Kumar, J&K Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh and Special DG J&K Police CID were part of the meeting. Earlier Amit Shah had called a meeting with Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.

Political commentators also say that yesterday’s meeting by PAGD was called in the backdrop of a green signal by the Central Government to local political parties to prepare for elections, the report added.

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