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Hold assembly election in J&K one month after LS polls: Azad to ECI
3/17/2024 10:32:57 PM

Early Times Report

JAMMU, Mar 17: Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad requested the Election Commission (EC) on Sunday to hold the much-awaited Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir a month after the completion of the Lok Sabha election.
The Lok Sabha polls in the Union Territory will be held in the first five phases on April 19 (Udhampur), April 26 (Jammu), May 7 (Anantnag-Rajouri), May 13 (Srinagar) and May 20 (Baramulla). The counting of votes will be taken up on June 4.
“The EC has stated that it is not holding the Assembly polls with the Lok Sabha election because of security considerations.
“It is true that if 10 candidates fight from each parliamentary seat, we have five seats and the number of candidates will be 50. Similarly, if we have 15 candidates from each of the 90 Assembly segments, the number of candidates will be around 1,500. It is difficult to provide security to 50 candidates,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said.
However, he requested the EC and the Centre to hold the Assembly polls a month after the completion of the parliamentary election.
“The Assembly election should be held after a month’s rest post the Lok Sabha polls,” he said.
Azad, who was a member of a high-level committee chaired by former president Ram Nath Kovind to look into the feasibility of the “one nation, one election” concept, said the report has been submitted to the president and it is now for the government and the EC to take a call on the recommendations.
Asked about the opposition’s criticism over holding the Lok Sabha polls in seven phases, the former Union minister said even during the Congress rule, elections used to take place in seven or eight phases.
He said the DPAP has announced one candidate from the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat and the decision with regard to other seats will be taken in due course of time.
“We have announced one candidate and will see where else we are going to field candidates,” he said.
Earlier, addressing a public meeting at the heart of the city here, Azad said a legislation is needed to protect Jammu up to Samba.
“Our land and jobs were protected by Article 35A (of the Constitution) but after its abrogation with Article 370 (in August 2019), Jammu has become vulnerable as anyone coming from outside will prefer the city rather than going to the hilly districts of Jammu or the Kashmir valley. People from the 22 districts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are living in Jammu and we have to protect the city up to Samba (district),” he said.
Azad sought the people’s support in forming the next government in Jammu and Kashmir and said he will give top priority to mitigating the problems being faced by them due to a lack of electricity and water, besides ensuring development.
He also asked people to wisely vote in the parliamentary polls so that the elected candidates become their voice and highlight their issues.
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