Assembly elections in JK can be held ahead of LS polls: EC sources
New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) is contemplating to hold the assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir much ahead of May, EC sources said.
“The upper limit ends in May. We may hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir along with the Lok Sabha polls. But it can be held before that also. We’ll see in the coming days,” a functionary said.
Since the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has been dissolved, the EC is bound to hold fresh polls there within six months.
The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly’s six-year term was to end on March 16, 2021. The other state assemblies and the Lok Sabha have a five-year term.
Sources in the government, meanwhile, pointed out that when security forces are deployed for the Lok Sabha polls in the state, it would be convenient for election authorities to hold the assembly polls simultaneously.
Meanwhile, the EC is likely to hold Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh with Lok Sabha elections due next year, the sources in the poll panel said.
Notably, the term of the four assemblies will end in May and June, 2019.
They pointed out that by holding assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh along with the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission (EC) will be following precedents.
While the term of the Sikkim Assembly ends on May 27, 2019, the terms of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh assemblies end on June 18, June 11 and June 1 respectively.
“When arrangements are in place for the Lok Sabha polls and the terms of the assemblies are ending during the same period, it is but natural that all polls are held together,” the functionary said.
Another EC official said if Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections too are clubbed with polls in the four states and the Lok Sabha, then there would not be any other election in 2019.
“Hypothetically speaking, the two states have BJP governments. If a call is taken by the party to seek dissolution of the two assemblies six months before the schedule, then elections can be clubbed with that of the Lok Sabha and the four states,” he said.
The terms of the two assemblies would end in November, 2019. (PTI)