Kashmir parties for simultaneous assembly, LS polls

The political parties of Kashmir Monday impressed upon theElection Commission of India (ECI) to hold the assembly polls in Jammu andKashmir simultaneously with the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The ECI Monday began a two-day visit to the state to assessthe feasibility of holding the Lok Sabha and the assembly polls simultaneously.

Delegations of National Conference, Peoples DemocraticParty, Pradesh Congress Committee and other smaller parties met the EC teamheaded by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora to put forth their viewsabout holding of assembly elections in the state.

The officials said the team will leave for Jammu later inthe day and hold similar interactions there tomorrow.

“We impressed upon the Election Commission that thereis no reason why Assembly elections cannot be held simultaneously with the LokSabha elections. Not holding assembly polls will send wrong signals to peoplewithin and outside the state,” NC leader Nasir Aslam Wani, who was part ofhis party’s delegation, told PTI after the meeting.

Wani said the NC delegation informed the commission thatrestoration of an elected government in the state was urgently needed as theGovernor’s administration was taking decisions on matters with widespreadimplications.

PDP delegation leader Abdul Rehman Veeri said his party alsowanted an early election to the state assembly so that a people’s government isput in place.

Asked if PDP delegation had sought assembly polls be heldalongside Lok Sabha elections, Veeri was non-committal. “The electionsshould be held as soon as possible,” he said.

Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin said his party delegationhighlighted the fact that holding assembly elections together with Lok Sabha electionscan lead to higher voter turnout as was witnessed in 2008 assembly polls.

“We told the Election Commission how in 2008 assemblyelections a high voter turnout was witnessed when people doubted about holdingthe polls. Our stand was that the commission has all the data about securitydeployment in 2008 and it should be easy for them to assess the requirementsfor this year’s election as well,” he said.

Mohiudding said while the Governor’s administration might bedoing its job well, President’s Rule cannot be an alternative to an electedgovernment in terms of redressal of problems faced by the people.

“The MLAs are the link between the government and thepeople and no one can replace this link. The government under President’s Ruleis bureaucrats’ government. They are not accessible to common people,” hesaid.

CPI(M) delegation led by M Y Tarigami told the Commissionthat the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir should be resumed at theearliest and advocated holding Lok sabha and state assembly polls together inthe state.

“Jammu and Kashmir state is without an electedgovernment for the past nine months and in the absence of an electedgovernment, uncertainty in the state is deepening day-by-day anddissatisfaction among large section of people is increasing,” Tarigamisaid.

“Only effective response to this situation is toinitiate democratic process and hold elections to Assembly and Lok Sabhasimultaneously. Any delay to do so will hamper the process of improvement inthe situation,” he added.

The ECI team, headed by Chief Election Commissioner SunilArora, began interactions with political parties soon after their arrival inthe summer capital, officials said.

They said the team will meet with officials of the stategovernment, including the deputy commissioners and the district police chiefs,to get a briefing on the security situation in the state.

The state is currently under President’s Rule since December19, 2018 which was necessitated at the end of the six month period underGovernor’s Rule imposed on 19 June 2018.

The PDP-BJP government in the state fell on June 19 afterthe national party pulled out of the coalition.

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