Delay in J&K poll will send wrong signal: Jaitley

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Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI: Disappointed with the Election Commission not announcing an election time table for Jammu and Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party said here on Tuesday that postponing and delaying the polls in the sensitive State would send the wrong signal worldwide.

Party general secretary Arun Jaitley said that at present there was no agitation or much violence in the State and there was no reason why the elections should not be held on time — the process should be completed before the current term of President’s Rule ended early next year.

Hurriyat factor

One factor being speculated on as the reason for the Commission not yet making a decision is the possible boycott of the election by the Hurriyat. Mr. Jaitley said elections had been held earlier despite a boycott by the Hurriyat. This affected polling in about half-a-dozen constituencies in and around Srinagar. Despite the boycott last time, the polling percentages in most of the State were credible.

He said that not holding an election or postponing it helped to shrink the political space for mainstream parties while expanding it for the separatists and militants.

Mr. Jaitley said that in Jammu and Kashmir it was all the more necessary not to send the signal that India was unable or unwilling to hold a fair and free election. He added that elections must be held on time – that was the essence of democracy – not at the convenience of one or another political party.

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