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Political parties boycott ECI delegation

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Srinagar: Various political parties including National Conference (NC), CPI (M), Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) and Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) Thursday boycotted the Election Commission (EC) delegation which arrived in the valley, saying the party has nothing more to add to its demand of having simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls in the state.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Congress delegations met the ECI team and put forth their demand of holding assemble elections in the state at an earliest.
Notably, three special observers appointed by the EC arrived in Srinagar on Thursday to assess the ground situation for holding assembly elections. The three special observers including former IAS officers Vinod Zutshi, Noor Muhammad, and former IPS officer A S Gill were scheduled to “assess the situation” here besides holding deliberations with the mainstream parties for the conduct of elections.
“In view of the EC visit to Srinagar today, the National Conference has decided not to meet the EC delegation,” a party spokesman said here.
He said the NC has already made its position clear on Lok Sabha and assembly elections in the state.
“Our demand of having simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state at our earlier meetings with the EC team remains as it is. We have, therefore, nothing more to add,” the spokesman said.
The parties who didn’t meet the delegation said they have already met the EC team headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and have apprised them about the ground situation assessed by them for the polls here. “We have already pitched for the simultaneous elections in the State. We have nothing to say in this regard now,” they said.
However, the parties including state Congress and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peoples Conference (PC) and Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) met the ECI delegation here and sought simultaneous elections here.
The Congress delegation was headed by former minister and senior leader Taj Mohi-ud-din and former MLA Bandipora Usman Majeed while as PDP delegation was headed by former minister, Muhammad Ashraf Mir and former MLA Batamaloo Noor Muhammad.
The delegations met the ‘Special Observers’ here and reiterated their demand of simultaneous elections in the State. Peoples Conference (PC) delegation led by Abdul Gani Vakil and Junaid Azim Mattoo and BJP leaders led by Asif Masoodi and M M War also called on ECI delegation and discussed the conduct of assembly elections.
PDP leader, Muhammad Ashraf Mir said that they met the ECI delegation and pitched for assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that they had already urged the ECI to hold polls simultaneously and pitched for the early polls yet again.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) General Secretary, Usman Majeed said that they appraised the ECI delegation about the ground situation and the resentment among the people after the ECI’s decision to delay the assembly elections.
“We informed them that people here see something fishy behind withholding the assembly elections as if the atmosphere is conducive for Lok Sabha election then why not for assembly elections,” he said, adding that the ECI’s decision has affected the reputation of Election Commission and it seems they are following the policy of GoI.
“We demanded simultaneous elections here and I am sure the ECI delegation will take this issue with higher ups and the elections will be conducted before June,” he said.
PC leaders have also pitched for early assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir during the meeting with special observers, sources said.
BJP General Secretary (Organization), Ashok Koul said a team of the party comprising Asif Masoodi and M M War met the ECI delegation and pitched for early elections in the State.
“We had pitched for simultaneous elections in the past and raised similar views this time again,” Koul said.
Notably, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Sunday announced a seven-phase parliamentary poll, but decided not to hold assembly elections in J&K, which is presently under President’s rule.
Pertinently, on March 04, a high-level delegation of the ECI arrived in Srinagar on a 2-day visit to J&K for consultations with various political parties, state administration and other stakeholders ahead of upcoming election-2019.
The team began its visit by meeting the representatives of various political parties in Kashmir Valley to seek their opinion regarding the elections. It later on rep[eated the exercise in Jammu.
Election commissioners, Sushil Chandra and Ashok Lavasa, Deputy Election Commissioner, Sandeep Saxena, Director General ECI, Dilip Kumar, ADG Sheyphali Sharan, Director Nikhil Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer J&K, Shailendra Kumar were present during the meeting.

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