JK Governor urges ECI to hold Assembly polls in November, not June

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has suggested the Election Commission of India that the Assembly polls be held in the month of November instead of June citing fasting month of Ramadhan and annual pilgrimage of Amarnath Yatra as the major reasons, reliable sources told KNO.

The state is under President’s rule from the past ten months. Reliable sources revealed that the Governor administration has urged the Election Commission to go for polls in November.

The poll panel was expected to conduct state elections in June-July, however, Governor Administration while opposing the move has cited Ramazan, Amarnath Yatra and peak tourism season in the valley as the reasons for delaying polls, sources told KNO.

The development comes at a time when Election Commission of India conducted a high-level meeting in the national capital about the Jammu and Kashmir polls.

Sources said that reports said that state Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra and Director General of Police Dilbag Singh attended the meeting in New Delhi that was chaired by the chief election commissioner of India.

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Sources said that the ECI has kept its final decision as reserved. The poll meeting comes after the EC appointed special observers who subsequently visited the state to assess the ground situation.

“They remained in the state for five days and met with the concerned officials, representatives of political parties etc. These observers include S Gill (former IPS officer), Noor Muhammad (former IAS officer) and Vinod Zutshi (former IAS officer).

According to reports, they have also submitted the report to the poll panel wherein they have forwarded three dates for Assembly polls viz June 8 to June 24, May 15 to June 15 and after September 15. Like the rest of the country, the state is undergoing Lok Sabha elections for six seats.

The region’s major political parties had demanded simultaneous parliamentary and Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. After the EC announced dates for Lok Sabha elections in the state, both the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party slammed the ruling BJP government.

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They accused the saffron party of failing to conduct state polls. The last Assembly polls were conducted in 2014 which gave a fractured mandate.

The BJP and PDP stitched a coalition and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took oath as the chief minister. After Sayeed’s death, his daughter Mehbooba Mufti succeeded him and became first woman chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. However, in June 2018, Mehbooba resigned from her position after BJP pulled out of the coalition plunging the State into Governor’s rule.(KNO)