Lok Sabha and J&K polls could be held together: Report
SRINAGAR: State elections in Jammu and Kashmir could be held along with the 17th Lok Sabha elections between April and May this year, an ‘exclusive’ report in huffingtonpost.in said quoting a senior government official today.
The official, who requested anonymity, said that discussions on the state and general elections in Jammu and Kashmir are likely to begin this week on the sidelines of a workshop held by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in New Delhi, the report said.
The day-long workshop will be attended by chief electoral officers (CEO) of all states and union territories. Jammu and Kashmir’s CEO Shailendra Kumar will also be among the participants of the workshop, the report said.
“The first meeting in the run up to the election will likely be held in Delhi this week. The CEO of Jammu and Kashmir will be in attendance and it is possible that he would be asked to apprise the ECI about situation in the state, especially the Kashmir region,” the official reportedly said.
Kumar confirmed to HuffPost India that he would be travelling to New Delhi this week, but added that he “didn’t know yet if he would be called in for a meeting” by ECI officials who are responsible for conducting elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Whatever the directions are from the ECI, they will be followed in the state and across the country. As far as my visit to Delhi is concerned, I am travelling to attend a workshop for chief electoral officers. CEOs from all over the country will be attending the workshop. I don’t know yet if I will be asked to update ECI about the situation in the state, but if that is the case, I am ready to do so,” Kumar told Huffpost India.
The development comes just days after Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Rajya Sabha that the Centre was prepared to hold elections in the state.
Central government officials monitoring the Kashmir situation said the meeting between Jammu and Kashmir’s CEO and the ECI will be followed by at least 3-4 other meetings before exact poll dates are announced.
Last week, during a discussion in the Rajya Sabha about the statutory resolution on the proclamation issued by the President in relation to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 356, Singh had said though the “Election Commission is responsible for conducting polls, the Centre is ready to provide maximum security forces to it. We will extend whatever infrastructure is needed”.
The senior government official quoted above said the “peaceful local body elections” that were held in Jammu and Kashmir in October and November had encouraged the state and central security forces to take the Home Ministry into confidence.