Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir are unlikely to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is learnt to have backed the state administration’s security concerns in a meeting called by the Election Commission (EC) on Monday.
The meeting, which was held days after the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, was attended by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra, J&K Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar, and J&K Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam.
The state administration had first indicated its security concerns on holding J&K polls jointly with Lok Sabha last month. Parliamentary elections are due in April-May. The Commission, then, had asked the J&K Chief Secretary and police chief to come back with concrete data and information to back its view. In the meeting held Monday, the J&K representatives reiterated their position and were backed by the MHA.
The EC is yet to take a final call on the matter.
Sources said the administration and MHA are concerned that J&K, which requires heavy security force deployment during polls, may not get the required number if it goes to polls with the rest of the country. Moreover, since 1967, J&K has never held polls jointly with Lok Sabha elections. Only in 1977, 1996, and 2014 were they held in the same year, but not simultaneously.