Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir will not to be held along with Lok Sabha polls, chief election commissioner Sunil Arora said on Sunday.
Only Lok Sabha elections would be held in Jammu and Kashmir. He said a three-member panel of observers will be appointed to assess the security situation for holding assembly election later .
Elections for six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in five phases. In Anantnag Lok Sabha seat polling will take place in three phases due to security reasons
“EC recently visited J-K, met political parties and government officials… Due to constraints in number of security forces and recent violent incidents in Jammu and Kashmir there will be no assembly elections in the state.” Arora said.
The decision not to hold assembly elections drew a stinging reaction from National Conference leader and former chief Omar Abdullah who cited Union home minister Rajnath Singh’s assurance that security forces would be provided for the elections and pointed out that for the first time since 1996 assembly elections were not being held. in the state.
Asked whether the government did not assure adequate security for simultaneous polls in Jammu and Kashmir, Arora did not said, “The Election Commission cannot disregard the recent developments…. It cannot be non-cognizant of the situation on the ground,” Arora said, responding to criticism from J&K political leaders for putting off the state elections.
Arora explained that it was not just a question of ensuring law and order but the commission also had to account for security of the candidates. If there are 8 or 10 candidates in 86 assembly seats, they would need to be given security, he said.
“By the way, many candidates of earlier panchayat elections are still staying in guest houses and paid for by the state government,” the top election commission said.
Earlier this month, the leaders of almost all political parties met an Election Commission team headed by the chief election commissioner and requested for simultaneous polls for both Lok Sabha and the state assembly.
The state has been under President’s rule since November 2018.