Preparations for Lok Sabha polls begin in Srinagar
While Lok Sabha polls are expected to be held early this year across the country, the Supreme Court has directed the ECI to conduct assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir by September 30, 2024
Preparations have begun for the upcoming general elections in the summer capital with physical verification of every polling station in all the eight constituencies of the city.
Deputy commission (DC) Dr Bilal Mohi-Ud-Din Bhat, who is also the district election officer (DEO), on Saturday chaired a meeting with all assistant returning officers (AROs), electoral registration officers (EROs), assistant election registration officers (AEROs) and district election machinery at DC office complex to review the preparations for the upcoming general elections.
A government spokesperson said Bhat held a detailed discussion with the officers and illustrated various important aspects of the election process mainly aimed at ensuring smooth and peaceful general elections in Srinagar district.
“The DEO held deliberations with regard to polling stations/locations, assured minimum facilities available at polling stations, resource availability/manpower, logistics, transport plan, communication plan, training to the polling staff, EVM management plan, management of postal ballots, nomination of Sectoral and Zonal Magistrates and establishment of help-desks and information desks,” the spokesperson said.
While Lok Sabha polls are expected to be held early this year across the country, the Supreme Court has directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to conduct assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir by September 30, 2024.
As many as 7,48,531 voters including 3,75,221 male and 3,73,286 electors are registered in Srinagar district in eight assembly constituencies of 19-Hazratbal, 20-Khanyar, 21-Habbakadal, 22-LalChowk, 23-Chanapora, 24-Zadibal, 25-Eidgah 26-Central Shalteng.
The meeting also discussed material management plan, location of the distribution and collection centres threadbare.
Bhat stressed upon the officers to prepare meticulous election management plans of each assembly constituency in order to ensure that all electorates participate in the election process in large numbers in a hassle free manner.
“The DC directed the officers to conduct physical verification of each and every polling station/ location to ensure the availability of all assured minimum facilities, so as to ensure that no voter or poll staff faces any kind of difficulty during elections,” the spokesperson said.
Jammu and Kashmir has been without an assembly since 2018 when Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew its support from the coalition government, forcing the then chief minister (CM) Mehbooba Mufti to resign. After abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, the state was divided into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and fresh delimitation exercise was also held increasing the number of assembly seats.
Bhat emphasised upon the officers concerned to put in place all the necessary arrangements as per guidelines of ECI. The election officer also laid special thrust on increasing voter turnout through polling station/AC level SVEEP program in the District.
“The DC also asked the officers to go for technological upgradation/training of the poll staff with respect to the IT interventions launched by the ECI,” the spokesperson said.
Buoyed by the improvement in situation in Kashmir, the authorities are hopeful of a record voter turnout in the coming elections in the Valley which in the past has often witnessed lower turnouts due to poll boycott calls by separatists.