Though it was expected that Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections will be held along with Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission of India (ECI) had differed citing security reasons and also availability of security forces to conduct polls, giving an impression they will be held immediately after Lok Sabha polls.
However, present indications stating that they are unlikely to be held for the next five months. Already the state is under Governoer’s rule for six months and President’s rule since another six months. ECI sources indicates that polls are likely to be held only after August.
The Special Election Observer team appointed by the ECI to assess the feasibility of conducting Assembly elections in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir has submitted their report and suggested holing of the polls in June, September or November.
The three observers have reportedly suggested holding Assembly elections from end of May to June before the beginning of annual Amarnath yatra or in September, when the yatra concludes, or in November-December.
The ECI had last month appointed Noor Mohammad (retired IAS officer), Vinod Zutshi (retired Deputy Election Commissioner) and A S Gill (retired IPS officer) as special observers to assess the situation in the State for conducting of Assembly polls and submit a report to the Commission. The three observers had visited the State for five days and held meetings with representatives of political parties, government officials and other stakeholders. So, the ball now rests with the ECI.
However, they also stated that most of political parties in the State are “comfortable” with elections being held in September after the conclusion of Amarnath yatra. If Assembly poll is conducted in June and completed before the commence of Amarnath yatra in July, then the ECI would have very less time to prepare for it as counting of votes for Lok Sabha would be held on May 23.
On the otherhand, the state administration also seems to be having reservation in holding the Assembly polls soon after the parliament polls because the state needs time to gear up for the Amarnath yatra. As per sources, the report has also touched upon the less fact that Eid-ul-Fitr is scheduled for June 5, which just leaves 10-15 days before the forces would be deployed for Amarnath yatra.