Jammu and Kashmir is unlikely to get a new assembly before winter sets in. The current agitation is expected to set the elections back by a few months, a top source in the Election Commission told
The EC held a review meeting last week, in which the state’s election officials told their superiors in New Delhi that the ongoing agitation in J&K has put them behind schedule by more than a month.
“As it is, we working on a very tight schedule. The agitation has set us back by six weeks or so. Even in areas not affected directly by the violence, there has been hardly any work,” the official said.
The EC was planning a high-level meeting of its election commissioners, including the chief election commissioner
with the Union Home and Defence secretaries to assess the security situation in the Valley.
After the review meeting on Thursday, however, it was decided not to convene this meeting.
“The elections are nowhere in sight yet. We decided it would be premature to hold such a meeting,” sources said.
The state assembly’s tenure — which is six years unlike other states in the country, which have a five-year run — would have ordinarily ended on November 20, 2008.
The last elections in J&K were held in four phases beginning from September 2002 and ending in November that year.
Under the law, elections have to be held within six months from the date of imposition of Governor’s rule.
But officials said elections would have to be held either before or after the coming winter due to over two-thirds of the state being hilly.
In the present scenario, elections before winter are ruled out. “The state has seen governor’s rule for long periods even in the past,” an official said.