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Elections in JK: No delay on EC’s part, says CEC

Elections in JK: No delay on EC’s part, says CEC
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‘Decision on holding LS and assembly polls together in JK after reviewing feedback’

Jammu: The Election Commission will decide on holding Lok Sabha and Assembly elections together or separately in Jammu and Kashmir after reviewing the security situation and feedback from stakeholders, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said here on Wednesday.

He also rejected criticism about the “delay” in holding assembly elections in the Union Territory, saying delimitation and necessary legislative processes were completed by December 2023 only.

“The changes happened in December 2023 and we are in March We know our responsibilities and we are also aware that there should be no political vacuum and the elections should be held sooner,” he told reporters before wrapping up his three-day tour of Jammu and Kashmir to assess the preparedness for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

He said the Commission had taken feedback from stakeholders including political parties, security agencies and administration on holding assembly elections with the upcoming general elections.

“We reviewed whether the two elections will be held together or one after another. We will decide after reviewing the security situation and taking the feedback.

“We have taken feedback from everybody about how much security is required. Each candidate needs security cover (in J-K) so it (holding elections together) will have security implications,” the CEC said.

Kumar said the Commission is equally concerned about assembly and parliamentary elections.

“We had a meeting with representatives of national and regional political parties and questions were raised about the delay in holding of assembly polls. I want to clarify that there was no delay on the part of the Election Commission,” Kumar said.

He said the J-K Reorganisation Act came in 2019 followed by a delimitation commission which completed its exercise in 2022, recommending an increase of assembly seats from 107 to 114 including 24 seats for residents of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“Now we have 90 assembly seats including nine seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes. There was no chance of holding elections as there was a dissonance between the J-K reorganisation act and the delimitation.

“We have to bring them together and that happened in December 2023 in the form of the J-K Reorganization (Amendment) Act,” he said.

Kumar said the amended act also included the recommendation of the delimitation commission to reserve two seats for migrants including a woman and another provision of one nomination for displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Press Trust of India

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