EC Says No To State Elections In J&K Citing Security Reasons; Opposition Slams The Move
The Election Commission of India on March 10 said that the assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir will not be held along with the Lok Sabha elections, citing security reasons. The announcement led to a severe backlash from the political parties in the valley. The Jammu and Kashmir assembly was dissolved in November last year, months, after the BJP withdrew its support from Mehbooba Mufti, led Peoples Democratic Party. The state is currently under President’s rule after the Governor’s rule expired in December 2018.
EC Defers Assembly Election
Citing security concerns and how complicated the situation in J&K is, Sunil Arora, Chief Election Commissioner, said that the requirement of a large number of security personnel for protection of every candidate is crucial for elections, he further added that the availability of security forces is a “constraint’’.
In the backdrop of the Pulwama terror attack and the current scenario in the valley, the Commission decided to postpone the assembly election. However, the general elections will go as planned. The chief election commissioner explained that Anantnag constituency in Jammu & Kashmir will go for polling in three phases. The voting for Lok Sabha in the state will take place in five phases on April 11, April 8, April 23, April 29, and May 6.
Political Parties Fume
Earlier this month, political parties in the valley pleaded the EC to conduct assembly elections and the general election simultaneously. However, the recent announcement from the EC, has drawn criticism from the party members. Reacting to the EC’s announcement, Omar Abdullah, former CM of Jammu & Kashmir, blamed PM Narendra Modi for his incompetence as a leader of the country.
First time since 1996 Assembly elections in J&K are not being held on time. Remember this the next time you are praising PM Modi for his strong leadership.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 10, 2019
Mehbooba Mufti, President of PDP also detested the EC’s move on Twitter. Mayawati, Chief of Bahujan Samaj Party quashed Modi for his failure in settling Kashmir policy.
Decision to hold only Parliamentary elections in J&K confirms sinister designs of GoI. Not letting people elect a government is antithetical to the very idea of democracy. Also a tactic of buying time to disempower people by pushing an agenda that suits their ulterior motives.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) March 10, 2019
Four States to Witness Simultaneous Election
While in J&K, the wait for assembly elections has extended, states like Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, and Odisha will witness simultaneously polls. The election for 175 assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh will take place on April 11 in single phase along with the general election. In Odisha, the assembly election will be held in four phases on April 11, 18, 23, and 29. The state of Sikkim will vote in one phase on April 11 for all the 32 assembly constituencies. In Arunachal Pradesh, the assembly elections will take place in one phase on April 11 for all its 60 constituencies.