Prospect of early Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir again put to backburner

NEW DELHI: The prospect of early assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir has once again received a setback as there is no mention of elections in the Union Territory in a document circulated in the BJP National Executive meeting in New Delhi on Monday.

The agenda circulated during the meeting showed only four states – Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Karnataka – as “election bound” where polls are due between March-May with no mention of Jammu and Kashmir.

Excluding Jammu and Kashmir from “election going states” means that the BJP doesn’t think that Assembly polls will be held in the UT atleast in April-May. Political resolution adopted in the meeting also had no mention of the political scenario in Jammu & Kashmir.

The BJP made its intentions of not holding early Assembly polls in Jammu & Kashmir clear on the same day when two major political parties of the UT – National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – raised the pitch for holding the elections during the all-party meeting convened by the Election Commission (EC) in New Delhi on Monday.

The EC had invited representatives of eight recognised national and 57 regional political parties for the demonstration of a modified version of the M3 electronic voting machines (EVMs) that enables voting at polling stations outside the home constituencies of migrants.

The hopes of early Assembly polls in J&K were raised after several high-profile BJP leaders from the UT stated that elections will be held in April-May 2023 and the “party was readying for it.” However, excluding J&K from the “election going states” list in its National Executive meeting has dashed the hopes again.

The elections in J&K have been due since the PDP-BJP alliance fell apart in June 2018, after which the erstwhile state was brought under Governor’s rule. While it was expected that polls in J&K could be held simultaneously with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the EC ruled that out, citing security reasons.

Just a few months after the Lok Sabha polls, J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 was brought in, mandating delimitation in the newly carved out UT before polls could be conducted.

Formalities like delimitation of constituencies and special summary revision of electoral rolls which were necessary after the Reorganisation Act to hold Assembly polls have been completed in 2022.


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