Election Commission will decide on assembly polls: SEC Sharma

The Election Commission of India will take a final call on holding the first assembly polls after the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir as a union territory, state election commissioner K K Sharma said on Tuesday.

“It will not be appropriate for me to comment on it. The Election Commission (of India) will take a final decision on assembly elections,” Sharma told reporters here.

He was replying to a question whether the situation was conducive in Jammu and Kashmir for holding the elections to the legislative assembly of the union territory

Sharma said as the state election commissioner, his mandate was limited to holding polls to urban local bodies and panchayati raj institutions.

“We held deliberations with the law and order machinery and other agencies involved in holding the elections for District Development Councils before deciding on it.

“I am sure a similar process will be followed for holding assembly elections but the Election Commission will decide on it,” he said.

The last assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir were held in November-December, 2014, which led to the formation of the PDP-BJP government.

The coalition government fell in June 2018 after the BJP pulled out and withdrew support, leading to the imposition of the governor’s rule.

President’s rule was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir in January 2019 and extended in July last year as elections were not conducted in the state.

The Centre nullified Article 370 and reorganised Jammu and Kashmir into union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — on  August 5, 2019. While the Ladakh union territory does not have a legislature in the new set up, Jammu and Kashmir has been provided with a legislative assembly but the elections have not been held even after a passage of more than a year.