Preparing ground for Jammu and Kashmir poll: Lt. Governor G.C. Murmu

Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Girish Chandra Murmu, inspects the guard of honour at Civil Secretariat following the annual 'Darbar Move', in Jammu. File photo

Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Girish Chandra Murmu, inspects the guard of honour at Civil Secretariat following the annual 'Darbar Move', in Jammu. File photo   | Photo Credit: PTI


EC will take the final call, Mr. Murmu says.

The Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has said the administration was pro-actively preparing the ground to hold elections in the newly carved out Union Territory but added that he would not be able to give a timeline.

Former IAS officer G.C. Murmu, who took over as L-G last month, told The Hindu that unlike the UT of Ladakh, J&K is a UT with a legislature and there will have to be an elected government in place soon.

EC to decide dates

“We are preparing the ground situation. The final call on dates will be taken by the Election Commission. Some normalcy is also required and we have to ensure many things before elections are held,” Mr. Murmu said.

President’s rule in J&K has been extended thrice in the past one year, with the most recent extension coming on October 31.

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Delimitation exercise

When asked if delimitation of constituencies would be carried out before the elections are announced, Mr. Murmu said, “That is a call that has to be taken by the EC.”

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019, which was passed by Parliament on August 6, split the State of J&K into two Union Territories – J&K (with a legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature).

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On November 1, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora told reporters that the Home or the Law Ministry would have to first appoint the Delimitation Commission. Mr. Arora said the Law Ministry had sought legal advice from the EC and the Commission had hired two former officials — Shangara Ram and R.K. Srivastava — to assist in the process.

Mr. Murmu added that preparations for the J&K Investor Summit, postponed indefinitely in October, had begun and it would be held soon.

A senior government official said that President’s rule cannot be prolonged further. “An L-G cannot run the administration alone. Preparations will have to done to hold the elections whenever time is conducive. There are issues like revising the electoral rolls. President’s rule has been extended at least thrice, it cannot go on for long,” the official said.

A senior EC official added that this would be the first Assembly of the UT of J&K. Since it would be starting afresh, it was likely that that the delimitation process would be conducted before the elections, the official said.

However, citing the example of the previous delimitation exercise for the country that started in 2001 and ended in 2008, the official said elections can take place even while the exercise is on. The official also raised concern about the harsh winter season that has set in and is expected to continue till April next year that could delay the election process further.

(With inputs from Damini Nath)

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 11:21:18 AM |

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