The Election Commission (EC) was yet to take a call on when the Anantnag Lok Sabha bypoll would be held as the security scenario in the Jammu and Kashmir district there was not considered conducive, an official said. The seat has been lying vacant since July 4, 2016 after PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti resigned as a Lok Sabha member as she took over as the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
The EC had, on May 1, cancelled the Anantnag Lok Sabha bypoll, which was slated for May 25, citing a poor law-and-order situation and lack of adequate central forces. The poll panel had earlier planned to conduct the bypoll on April 12, but had subsequently postponed it to May 25, citing similar problems in the Kashmir Valley. The official said no decision had been taken so far on holding the bypoll as the situation was not yet conducive for it.
The Jammu and Kashmir government had then informed the EC that the bypoll needed to be postponed since the security agencies wanted to resume the counter-militancy operations. The government had also said these operations would be necessary in the coming months to restore public order and enable elections to be conducted in a free-and-fair atmosphere after October.
“The apprehension expressed by the Chief Electoral Officer that there may be reluctance on the part of the polling personnel to go to the polling locations, in view of the fear in their minds with regard to their safety and security is also a matter of concern,” the May 1 EC order had said.