The Election Commission’s (EC) decision on the timing of Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir will be taken keeping in mind the feedback given by political parties that the “general population in the state wishes to have their democratically elected government in place”, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said on Tuesday.
The EC wrapped up its two-day visit to J&K on Tuesday. Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra and the CEC met representatives of political parties during the trip and reviewed the work of district election officers, commissioner of police and divisional commissioners. They also discussed poll preparedness with the state chief secretary and director general of police and ways to curb misuse of money, liquor and freebies with the nodal officers of income tax, excise, narcotics control, customs, banks, railways and airports.
During their meeting with the Commission, representatives of all political parties had urged the EC to conduct the parliamentary and state polls in the state at the earliest as the general population wants a democratically elected government.
Political parties also stressed the importance of adequate security arrangement in order to instill confidence among voters and encourage them to vote. Some parties, as per EC’s press release issued on Wednesday, requested that security cover should be continued for former ministers and candidates even after election is over.
As far as security concerns go, the Commission, the press release states, is “mindful of the specific challenging law and order situation in the state of J&K and especially in certain Assembly segments given their location and concerns”.
“Commission will look into due security arrangements while deciding on the timing and phasing of the elections. Commission does as a matter of practice keep in mind local festivals, geographical conditions and related needs while deciding the schedule of election dates,” the press release adds.
President’s Rule was imposed in J&K on December 20 last year, after the state was under Governor’s Rule for six months. Governor’s Rule, on the other hand, came into effect in June after the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government was reduced to a minority following the withdrawal of support by the BJP.