EC to visit JK next week to decide on holding assembly polls
Kolkata, Feb 1: The Election Commission will visit Jammu and Kashmir next week to take stock of the situation there before deciding on the Assembly elections in the state, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said Friday. Jammu and Kashmir is currently under President’s Rule. The commission will hold a meeting with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officials and then visit the state to decide on holding the elections there along with the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Arora said “We had held a meeting (through video conference) with the chief secretary and the DGP of Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly, when the Assembly was dissolved prematurely, we had sought specific inputs from the MHA,” he told reporters here. “Next week, or eight-10 days later, we will hold another meeting with the MHA and the commission will itself visit the state to take stock of the situation and then it will be able to give a conclusive answer on this,” the CEC said to a question on holding Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. The militancy-hit state was brought under President’s Rule on December 20 last year, paving the way for the Union cabinet to take all policy decisions related to it. Prior to it, the state was under Governor’s Rule for six months after the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government was reduced to minority following withdrawal of support by the BJP in June. The governor had on November 21 dissolved the 87-member state assembly after the PDP, supported by the Congress and their arch rival National Conference, had staked claim to form the government. On whether the commission was planning to hold Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana along with the Lok Sabha elections, Arora said as of now no decision has been taken in that context. “We have no formal or informal inputs that the assemblies are going to be dissolved prematurely. So the question is quite premature,” he said. The last Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana were held on October 15, 2014. The full bench of the EC is here to take stock of election preparedness in West Bengal.