LS, Assembly polls: MHA briefs EC about JK situation
New Delhi, Feb 18: A high-level team of the Ministry of Home Affairs, led by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, on Monday briefed the Election Commission about the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of Pulwama militant attack in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed, officials said. The meeting was held to help the Election Commission (EC) in taking a decision on holding Lok Sabha elections as well as the Assembly Polls in Jammu and Kashmir, which is currently under President’s rule, they said. During the hour-long meeting, the MHA team apprised the EC about the ground realities in the state, strength of central forces currently deployed and the additional forces which could be made available for election duties, a government official said. The EC will have to take a decision on whether to hold Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir simultaneously or conduct the assembly polls later in the year based on the assessment provided by the MHA. The MHA team also apprised the EC about the internal security situation in the country and the central forces it could make available for polling duties across the country, another official said. The EC is expected to announce the schedule for Lok Sabha elections in the first fortnight of March. Assembly polls are expected to be held with Lok Sabha elections simultaneously in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. A senior security officer, who is familiar with the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, said the assembly polls in the state should be held simultaneously as such decisions cannot be held ransom to one incident or a couple of incidents.