Due to security concerns, no assembly elections in JK with Lok Sabha polls: EC
jkupdate.com | 10-Mar-2019 10:38 PM
  • Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, centre, speaks during a press conference in New Delhi.

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) Sunday announced that assembly elections will not be held in Jammu & Kashmir with the Lok Sabha elections. Citing security concerns, election commissioner Sunil Arora announced that the election will be held on a later date. The parliamentary polls in J&K will be held in five phases.

“We need a large number of security personnel to be deployed for protection of every candidate. This was a categorical demand from all political parties there. Availability of security forces is a constraint,” said Arora when asked why J&K is not having assembly elections along with Lok Sabha polls.

When asked if the Home Ministry did not agree to election commission’s demand for security forces for J&K polls, Arora said, ” (Availability of ) central forces is definitely an issue. You cannot disregard recent events. EC cannot be non-cognisant of the situation on the ground and the feedback of the state administration.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government since June last year when BJP pulled out of its alliance with the PDP.

The ECI announced the schedule for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections which begins from April 11, while the results will be announced on May 23. The Commission, however, announced that simultaneous polls for Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim assemblies will be held with Lok Sabha elections.

Reacting to the development, former J&K CM Omar Abdullah said that for the first time since 1996, assembly elections in J&K are not being held on time. Citing it as a failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Abdullah tweeted, “With the amount of international attention elections in J&K attract, I never thought PM Modi would be willing to confess his failure on a global stage but we all make mistakes & that was mine.” 

The development comes days after political parties in the valley made an appeal to the EC to conduct assembly elections together with the general elections. The EC team, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had met representatives of political parties in the Valley as well as top officials of the security establishment and civil administration.

“In 2014 we had Lok Sabha elections on time & assembly elections on schedule even after the most devastating floods. Shows how badly the BJP & earlier the BJP-PDP mishandled J&K,” Abdullah added.

Meanwhile, the Congress had said that the EC has no reason to defer the Assembly elections. “We told them that elections were conducted in the state in 1996, 2002 and 2008 when the situation was worse than this. If elections could be held then, why not now,” said Congress leader Usman Majeed.

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