Other States

J&K Assembly polls unlikely this year

Chief Election Commissioner of India, Rajiv Kumar. File photo

Chief Election Commissioner of India, Rajiv Kumar. File photo | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The first ever Assembly election in the newly-carved-out Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir is unlikely to take place this year with the Election Commission of India (ECI) deciding to publish the final electoral roll only by the last week of November. J&K’s regional parties have expressed unhappiness over the delay; the last Assembly election was held in 2014.

According to a fresh notification, the new date of publishing of the final electoral roll has been fixed from October 31 to November 25, “after due disposal of all claims and objections filed within the stipulated time period”.

Earlier, the ECI had finalised the dates for completion of the electoral rolls for J&K on October 31 this year. The Special Summary Revision (SSR), as per the new order, will now be published on September 15. The poll deferment is imminent after the ECI after the SSR was re-scheduled with new reference to October 1, 2022 as the qualifying date “to provide an opportunity for the youth attaining 18 years on the qualifying date or earlier to become part of voters list in the UT”.

Also Read | Time to ring in the polls in Jammu and Kashmir 

Onset of winter

By the time the electoral rolls are finalised, J&K will be preparing for a harsh winter spell when most far-off places remain snow bound in the Valley and only start to open up by February.  

J&K is under the direct Central rule since the People Democratic Party (PDP) and BJP coalition government fell apart in 2018. The upcoming assembly elections will also be the first in India’s youngest UT, carved out on August 5, 2019 when the Centre ended seven decades of special autonomous position in Jammu & Kashmir.  Meanwhile, regional parties have reacted sharply to likely delay in the assembly elections.

Also Read | Waiting for democracy in Jammu and Kashmir

“The fresh order shows that the Government of India does not want elections in J&K. It seems they do not want a popular government to return to J&K and democratic process to be restored. By denying the democratic process, a punishment is being meted out to people of J&K,” Abdul Gani Vakil, general secretary of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference said.

“Complete dilution of Article 370, bifurcation and downgrading of J&K state, gerrymandering of constituencies through a tame delimitation commission, curtailing movement & activities of parties like NC (National Conference) by revoking security and still the BJP doesn’t have the guts to face voters of J&K,” NC vice president Omar Abdullah said.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 9:24:23 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jk-assembly-polls-unlikely-this-year/article65754592.ece