Assembly, Lok Sabha elections in JK likely to be held together next year: Report

Srinagar: The Election Commission, is likely to club the assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir with the Lok Sabha elections due next year, reported the Press Trust of India.

Quoting highly-placed sources in the poll panel, the report said, “It is likely that they could be clubbed with Lok Sabha polls,” they said.

The state assembly was dissolved by Governor Satya Pal Malik on November 21 citing the “impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies” and the “fragile security scenario in the state”.

Mentioning a Supreme Court direction, the sources said the “outer limit” for holding fresh polls after the dissolution of a house is six months, that is May 21 next year.

They also said that the apex court has made it clear that the poll panel should hold elections in the first available opportunity.

The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has a six-year term while other assemblies and the Lok Sabha have a five-year term.
Its term was to end on March 16, 2021.

The sources in the government, meanwhile, pointed out that when armed forces are deployed for the Lok Sabha polls in the state, it would be convenient for election authorities to hold the assembly polls simultaneously.

Malik dissolved the assembly shortly after People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form a government with the support of the National Conference and the Congress. She cited a collective strength of 56 MLAs in the 87-member House.

Malik, in an event that had taken place on November 24, in Gwalior, had said that the Modi-led ruling government had wanted him to install Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference chief Sajad Lone as the region’s chief minister before the dissolution of the assembly last week.

If he had listened to “Delhi”, he would have become “dishonest forever”.

In an interview with India Today TV, Governor Malik said that there was no political pressure or interference from the government of India, and that he was “completely apolitical”.

Earlier, National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah, in a tweet ‘complimented’ the Governor for not allowing BJP and its proxies to form the Government in Jammu and Kashmir.

PDP President Mehbooba Mufti also said, in a tweet, that Governor Malik’s decision not to look up Delhi and dissolve the Assembly in JK is ‘unprecedented’, given the ‘history of democracy in the state.’

However, in a clarification, The J&K Raj Bhavan Spokesperson said that Governor of J&K Satya Pal Malik, while taking the decision to dissolve the Legislative Assembly, acted in an objective and impartial manner.

“There was no pressure or any kind of intervention from the Centre in the entire matter and some News Channels are misinterpreting Governor’s statement and putting them out of context to convey that there was pressure from the Central Government,” said a statement of the Raj Bhavan.


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