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EC unlikely to hold Anantnag by-election soon

Srinagar—With the state government believing that the security situation is not yet right, the By-polls of south Kashmir’s Anantnag Lok Sabha seat is not likely to be held in the near-future.

Sources said that the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, has not got any intimation regarding starting the election process as the government’s priority remains bringing the situation back to normal.

Sources said that the Election Commission of Indian and the security agencies are of the opinion that by-polls of south Kashmir’s Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency won’t be held under the present circumstances in south Kashmir.

The sources said that there are apprehensions that there may be reluctance on the part of polling personnel to go to polling locations in view of the fear in their minds with regard to their safety and security is also a matter of concern. “It seems the polls won’t be held in this year. If the violence goes down then the polls may be held in January or February 2018,” sources told KNS.

Sources said the security forces want to continue to counter militancy-related activities. “It won’t be possible to hold polls when security agencies are busy with anti-militant operations,” sources within the security agencies said.

They said that the state government believes that the overall law and order situation in the valley was not conducive to the holding of the by-poll.

The violence has already got Anantnag by-poll postponed. The Election Commission (EC) cancelled the May 25 Anantnag Lok Sabha by-poll because of the “scary” situation in Kashmir.

State government officials had informed the EC that the situation in South Kashmir “is not good, the overall situation is scary and not very conducive (to the holding of polls),” the EC had said. Since than the poll body is undecided over the timing of the polls. Sources said it was violence that has also put elections on hold.

Anantnag seat fell vacant in June last after Mehbooba Mufti won the assembly bypolls, as required by law, to continue as the Chief Minister. Earlier, the PDP had chosen J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti's brother Mufti Tasaduq Hussain to contest from Anantnag constituency against Congress state president G A Mir.


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