No Simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly Polls in J&K

New Delhi: Assembly polls will not be held along with the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir as it is not viable from the security point of view, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said on Saturday. Political parties in Kashmir expressed their disappointment, saying a crucial democratic space was being "denied" to the people of the Union Territory by keeping the polls in a "deep freeze".

Rajiv Kumar, however. said that "we stand committed" that the Assembly elections in J&K would be held soon after the Lok Sabha poll process is completed as there will be availability of additional forces.
"Administration told us that there will be roughly 10 to 12 candidates for each Assembly segment which means approximately, there will be 1,000 candidates in fray," Kumar said.

He said that due to security reasons each candidate in J&K has to be provided with two sections of forces. This, he said, meant additional requirements of 450-500 companies of security forces.

Besides, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act was amended in December 2023 after a delimitation exercise, leaving not enough time.
Reacting, National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah said there was "something fishy" in not holding the Assembly elections. The BJP-led Centre is pushing for "one nation, one election" and this was an opportunity for it, he said.

"If there are conducive conditions for the parliamentary election, how is it not all right for the state elections? There is something fishy," Dr Abdullah said. “How long are we going to put up with the Lieutenant Governor? If you want to win the hearts of people, then this was the start."

The BJP has defended the move of the Election Commission (EC), citing security reasons.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) alleged that a crucial democratic space is being strategically denied to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“A crucial space in democracy is being strategically denied to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for the last 10 years now. So much so that even the panchayat and municipal elections are not happening here when people are talking about conducting the parliamentary polls,” PDP spokesperson Mohit Bhan said.

“We are absolutely sorry for the kind of management and affairs that are being run today at the whims and fancies of a certain political party. We strongly object to this,” he added.

PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said Jammu and Kashmir is facing “exclusion” from the democratic process.

Chief spokesperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Congress Ravinder Sharma said that the EC has disappointed the people of the Union Territory.

The Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC), led by Sajad Lone, said while one election is being conducted, the EC should have held another one along with it.

Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M.Y. Tarigami called it a disappointment and the “excuses” for not holding simultaneous polls were not acceptable. Denying democracy to the people does not serve the interests of the country,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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