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No simultaneous Lok Sabha, Assembly polls in J&K upset Opposition
3/16/2024 11:02:28 PM

Early Times Report

Jammu, Mar 16: Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have strongly criticized the Election Commission of India (ECI) for its decision not to hold simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the Union Territory.
Former Chief Minister and president of the National Conference, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, expressed disappointment with the ECI's decision, stating, "Unfortunately, the ECI has once again ignored the wishes and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to have their government." He further added, "I feel very sad after the announcement of the ECI. On one side, the government is trying to implement the policy of 'one nation, one election,' but on the other hand, this policy is not implemented in J&K."
Dr. Abdullah questioned the denial of the right to choose their own government for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially when four states are going for both Parliamentary and Assembly elections simultaneously.
Ghulam Hassan Mir, leader of the Apni Party, also criticized the ECI's decision, terming it as unfortunate. He remarked, "We were eagerly awaiting the announcement of dates for the J&K Assembly elections, considering the prolonged absence of a legislative assembly in Jammu and Kashmir, leaving the people disempowered."
He expressed disappointment that despite the ECI releasing the poll schedule for four states, J&K was once again omitted, suggesting that the ECI is inclined towards disempowering the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Regarding the conduct of Assembly elections in J&K shortly after the Lok Sabha polls, the ECI cited the availability of parliamentary forces as a key factor. Rajiv Kumar, the Chief Election Commissioner of India, emphasized the importance of additional paramilitary forces for candidate safety during a press conference.
He explained that this decision follows the alignment between the J&K Reorganisation Act and the Delimitation Commission, with preparations for elections underway since December 2023.
Despite security concerns leading to the postponement of elections, the ECI remains committed to promptly organizing elections in Jammu and Kashmir following the parliamentary elections.
The ECI announced a five-phase Lok Sabha election schedule for Jammu and Kashmir, with voting to be held in five phases and counting of votes scheduled for June 4. Each J&K constituency will go to polls in a separate phase, starting from April 19 for the Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary seat and concluding on May 20 for the North Kashmir's Baramulla seat.
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