New Delhi must come clean on rejecting simultaneous LS, Assembly elections in J&K, say parties: 'Security reasons' an eyewash

On 4 March, when the team of the Election Commission visited Srinagar all mainstream politicians had urged to them to hold the Assembly elections simultaneously. 'It becomes necessary to have popular government when the Governor's constitutional interference is growing day by day and which can create far-reaching consequences for the state,' the visiting delegation had reportedly told the ECI team.

Sameer Yasir March 11, 2019 12:49:21 IST
New Delhi must come clean on rejecting simultaneous LS, Assembly elections in J&K, say parties: 'Security reasons' an eyewash
  • If security reasons are being cited for not holding Assembly elections in the state at the moment, then how can they conduct Lok Sabha elections, ask political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir

  • When Governor Satya Pal Malik was asked about his take on conducting the Assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha polls, Malik passed the buck on to the poll panel, saying: Let ECI decide that

  • The delayed Assembly polls, however, has already created new dynamics in the state with many saying that if BJP returns to power in Centre, they will later on get a boost in Jammu and Kashmir.

Only a week ago, Kashmir's mainstream camp was briefing the visiting team of Election Commission of India (ECI) in Srinagar about the pressing need of holding simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir to end political vacuum. They had pitched a collective war cry: "Only popular government can restore some lost sense of confidence and normalcy in the state."

However on Sunday, when the ECI decided against holding simultaneous elections in the state, Kashmir's mainstream political camps were left seething, with some even accusing New Delhi of playing at the hands of Pakistan, separatists and militants.

Among them, Democratic Party Nationalist chief Ghulam Hassan Mir stood vindicated over ECI's decision. Only last week, Mir had said that the governor-run state administration doesn't want assembly elections in the state.

New Delhi must come clean on rejecting simultaneous LS Assembly elections in JK say parties Security reasons an eyewash

Representational image. Reuters

"It was certain that this Governor doesn't want Assembly elections in Kashmir any time sooner," Hassan said after the EC announced the Lok Sabha election dates on Sunday. "I had said it earlier as well that Delhi is deliberately creating a void of elected government in the state which is only creating problems on the ground."

The Election Commission on Sunday announced dates for the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections which will be starting from 11 April and will go on till 19 May. The results will be declared on 23 May. Among the total 545 seats, Jammu and Kashmir will witness Lok Sabha polls on 6 seats — three in Kashmir province (Anantnag, Srinagar and Baramulla), two in Jammu province (Jammu and Udhampur) and one in Ladakh province.

In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had swept the three seats—Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh, while PDP won all the three Kashmir-based seats. While announcing the dates for Lok Sabha polls, the poll panel said that it has decided not to hold Assembly elections simultaneously in Jammu and Kashmir due to security reasons. The decision about state Assembly elections will be taken later, it said.

"If security reasons are being cited for not holding Assembly elections in the state at the moment, then how can they conduct Lok Sabha elections?" asked Kashmir's veteran Marxist leader, MY Tarigami. "This is travesty of democratic process. New Delhi must come clean on this."

On 4 March, when the team of the Election Commission visited Srinagar all mainstream politicians had urged to them to hold the Assembly elections simultaneously. "It becomes necessary to have popular government when the Governor's constitutional interference is growing day by day and which can create far-reaching consequences for the state," the visiting delegation had reportedly told the ECI team.

When Governor Satya Pal Malik was asked about his take on conducting the Assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha polls, Malik passed the buck on to the poll panel, saying, "Let ECI decide that."

It was this non-committal stance which had made people like Ghulam Hassan Mir to speculate that Jammu and Kashmir might have to wait for the Assembly elections.

The delayed Assembly polls, however, has already created new dynamics in the state with many saying that if BJP returns to power in Centre, they will later on get a boost in Jammu and Kashmir.

While eager for polls, National Conference may lose some edge, PDP may regain some lost ground, as per the popular poll predictions back in Srinagar. Congress, which is expected to gain some footing in Lok Sabha elections, is also likely to capitalise on the failure of BJP unit in Jammu and Kashmir on many counts. Besides, the new political entrant, Shah Faesal, former IAS officer who is announcing the name of his political party this week, is likely to get enough time to consolidate his cadre. Even Sajad Lone is likely to keep his ‘dark horse’ image in Kashmir politics intact.

But ECI's decision has largely come as a shock for many political parties in Jammu an Kashmir, especially those who pitched for simultaneous elections. National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah told ANI, "All parties are in favour of holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls. Environment is conducive for Lok Sabha polls but not state polls in J&K? Local body polls were held peacefully, there are enough forces present,then why can't state elections be held?"

Former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted:

Read the full thread here:

PDP chairman and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti also reacted to the EC decision:

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