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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Election commission to visit Jammu and Kashmir to review poll preparations

The Election Commission will be in Jammu and Kashmir on March 4-5 to review the ground situation and assess the state’s preparedness for the summer Lok Sabha elections.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 05, 2019 12:41 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times
Chief Election Commissioner (C) Sunil Arora with Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa (L) and Sushil Chandra (R) addressing a press conference in Lucknow on Friday.
Chief Election Commissioner (C) Sunil Arora with Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa (L) and Sushil Chandra (R) addressing a press conference in Lucknow on Friday. (Ritu Singh)
         

The Election Commission will be in Jammu and Kashmir on March 4-5 to review the ground situation and assess the state’s preparedness for the summer Lok Sabha elections and take a call on whether assembly polls can be held in tandem, according to a person aware of developments.

The poll panel, headed by chief election commissioner, Sunil Arora, will hold review meetings with state administration officials and political parties’ representatives in Srinagar on March 4 and in Jammu on March 5, the person said. Jammu and Kashmir has been under President’s Rule since December 20, 2018.

Before that, for six months, it was under Governor’s Rule after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in June pulled out of the coalition government it had with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Mehbooba Mufti.

According to rules, elections have to be held within six months of imposition of President’s rule, which extends up to June 2019.

The Centre was keen to hold the Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls along with the national elections, but it has been forced to reconsider matters since the February 14 suicide car bomb attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama.

Union home minister, Rajnath Singh had, however, told Opposition parties at a meeting this week that the Centre was ready to hold the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections in phases along with the general elections.

Political parties in the state are divided on the issue of simultaneous polls. A PDP official said the government should consider holding the assembly polls closer to June. “Conditions in the Valley are very volatile. It would be hard for political parties to campaign and the Centre, too, will need to have more security deployment,” the official said.

However, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had recently tweeted that holding elections on time would be a test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of J&K.

First Published: Mar 02, 2019 07:53 IST