The Election Commission has issued a statement notifying changes in the election schedule of Anantnag Parliamentary seat and clarified that 18 Assembly bypolls in Tamil Nadu would be held on April 18 alongside the general elections.
“The date of poll in respect of bye-elections for 18 Tamil Nadu Assembly constituencies as already scheduled for Phase 2 of election shall be read as April 18 instead of April 23,” the EC note said.
While 21 Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu currently do not have sitting MLAs, Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo clarified on Sunday that bypolls to Ottapidaram, Aravakurichi and Tiruparankundram cannot be held immediately due to pending petitions.
For election to Anantnag, the erstwhile Lok Sabha constituency of former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, the Election Commission issued a revised schedule. The issue of gazette notification, last date of filing nomination and last date for withdrawal of candidature will be on March 28, April 4 and April 8 respectively.
Polling for Jammu and Kashmir’s six Lok Sabha seats will take place in five phases. Polling in Anantnag will take place in three phases – a first for any constituency.
The EC statement said polling in Anantnag district would take place on April 23, in Kulgam on April 29 and in Shopian and Pulwama on May 6. The counting of votes will take place along with that of the Lok Sabha elections on May 23.
Anantnag has been one of the longest delayed bypolls — it has been vacant since July 2016, when Mufti vacated it to become chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. The EC has been unable to hold that election due to security concerns.
The Lok Sabha elections will be spread across seven phases, beginning from April 11 and concluding on May 19. Elections will also be simultaneously held for the state assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
Contrary to expectations, no elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir, which has been without an elected government since June last year when BJP pulled out of its alliance with the PDP.