Lack of ground work may force EC to postpone elections in J-K

  • Chetan Chauhan and Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 30, 2014 00:50 IST

The Election Commission (EC) is considering the possibility of deferring assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir as the state administration is still trying to recover from the devastation caused by the recent floods.

There could be two reasons for delaying the polls.

First, the non-availability of updated electoral rolls, the revision of which had to be suspended due to the floods that hit the state in the first week of September. Second, there is not enough time to do necessary ground work for concluding the polls before January 19 - when the term of the state assembly expires - as the harsh winter is fast approaching.

EC sources said the feedback from J&K's chief electoral officer was not "favourable" in terms of holding the polls on schedule in November-December.

"There could be lot of operational problems if the polls are be held in November onwards," an EC official said, adding the final call would be taken only after the full poll panel visits the state in October.

Political parties are divided on the issue. The ruling National Conference leaders favour postponement of the polls but want the interim government to continue till that time.

But legal experts say this would run foul of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution as CM Omar Abdullah's term ends on January 19.

The Congress wants the polls on the due date but many state parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party, have been demanding postponement of elections so that the focus does not shift from rehabilitation efforts.

Jammu and Kashmir Awami Tehreek chief Syed Reyaz Khawar and J&K Gujjar Mahasabha leader Eshfaq-ur-Rehman Poswal have demanded the imposition of Governor's rule at the end of the present assembly's term.

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