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Political parties on LS polls: Security major concern for campaigning in Kashmir

Srinagar, Mar 13: Expressing dismay over the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) decision of not conducting assembly elections with the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the political parties on Wednesday admitted that security would be a concern for them during their campaigning.
The ECI on Sunday announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections 2019.The voting would be held in seven phases between April 11 and May 19.
The counting of votes would take place on May 23.
In the first phase on April 11, voting will be held in Baramulla and Jammu constituencies. Srinagar and Udhampur constituencies will vote in the second phase on April 18. Polling in Anantnag will be held on April 23, April 29 and May 6, while Ladakh will go to polls on May 6.
Even though the political parties had asked the visiting ECI team to conduct the assembly and parliamentary elections simultaneously in J&K, the commission decided to only conduct the parliamentary elections for now.
President, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC), Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that “security will be challenge, as of now we have not received any guidelines from the Police for the campaigning.”
“The by-election for Anantnag parliamentary seat was deferred. What does it signify? It is for the first time in the history of Kashmir that the election for Anantnag parliamentary seat would be held in three phases,” he said.
“The security forces have themselves categorized the areas under vulnerable and other categories,” Mir added.
He said that policies adopted by the central government for the last four and half months with regard to Kashmir have “alienated the people, especially youth.”
“The people should feel that the candidate in whose favour they are casting the vote is sincere. They should also feel that will he be able to represent them in the parliament. There are many, who after winning could not live upto the expectations of the people,” he said.
Senior leader, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Nizam-ud- Din Bhat admitted that the situation is “not good”.
“There is a threat to the lives of voters as well as to the candidates. Time will tell, how many would cast their votes, there are many who don’t cast votes,” he said.
“To hold elections is an obligation for ECI. We are ready for elections. In our meeting, we had asked the ECI to conduct the assembly and parliamentary elections simultaneously. We were not aware of their intentions,” he added.
Provincial president, National Conference (NC), Nasir Aslam Wani said that administration should make fool-proof security arrangements for the parliamentary elections.
“ECI has deferred the assembly elections just because of the security reasons, now one can hope that adequate security measures would be put in place for Lok Sabha,” he said.
Wani said that party’s parliamentary board would be meeting within next couple of days to decide the candidature.
“The preparations are on, our senior leaders will be holding rallies in all the constituencies of the valley and inform people about the wrongdoings of the previous government,” he said.

CEO seeks cooperation from parties


Jammu, Mar 13: Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), J&K, Shailendra Kumar Wednesday interacted with the representatives of recognized political parties in the State on various issues related to the conduct of Parliamentary Elections-2019 which have recently been announced by the Election Commission of India.
The CEO held wide ranging discussions with the political leaders for the smooth, peaceful and transparent conduct of Parliament Elections and sought their views and suggestions to further improve things on ground to ensure larger participation of voters and to augment facilities at the Polling stations across the State.
While seeking cooperation from the Political parties to ensure complete transparency in the electoral process, the CEO urged them to abide by the guidelines of the Election Commission of India with regard to the implementation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) which has been enforced with the announcement of Parliamentary Elections. He advised them to sensitize their workers, polling agents about the scope and extent of MCC and cooperate fully in strict adherence of the same.
He urged them to make use of Election Commission’s App “C-Vigil” which relates to deal with the complaints with regard to the violation of MCC by any department/political party or any individual and complaints can be filed on-line which are being dealt by the Commission quickly. He also urged them to make optimal use of Suvidha App to avail on-line facilities with regard to seek any kind of permission/registration related to the election process from the election authorities. He said these facilities have been created by the Election Commission to facilitate the political parties to extend instant assistance whatever is required.
The CEO urged the political leaders to appoint their BLAs on priority who can help the BLOs in facilitating election related matters of the parties. He said the District Election authorities have organized training programmes for the political workers, BLAs on use of EVMs/VVPATs and other election related activities enabling them to educate the voters about the same. He also informed that new Electoral Rolls have been made available to all the parties for their information and further use. He also assured to make available the manuals of other important guidelines related to the electoral process issued by the ECI from time to time for their information and knowledge.
The leaders sought some clarifications with regard to the MCC violations, election related expenditure, publicity etc from the CEO. They also suggested several measures to further improve the electoral process.
Prominent among those present on the occasion included, Harshdev Singh from JKNPP, R.K.Bali from JKPDP, Rajinder Sharma from BJP, Pradeep Kumar Bali from National Conference, R.K. Thapa from BSP, Om Parkash from CPI-M and Dr. Rama Kant Khajuria from Indian National Congress.