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Will initiate process of holding assembly polls in J&K soon: CEC 

May 26, 2024

New Delhi- Encouraged by the voter turnout in Jammu and Kashmir in the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission will “very soon” initiate the process of holding assembly polls in the Union Territory, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said on Saturday.

He also told PTI Videos that the people of Jammu and Kashmir deserve their government.

Responding to a question on the turnout in various seats of Jammu and Kashmir and if assembly elections could be held soon, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kumar said the poll panel is very encouraged by people’s participation in the parliamentary polls.

“It’s music to (my) ears. People — youth, and women — are happily turning out in large numbers (to vote). The roots of democracy are being further strengthened, people are participating,” he said.

“They deserve their government. We will initiate that process very soon … very encouraged to do this,” the CEC added.

While announcing the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections in March, Kumar said holding assembly and parliamentary elections simultaneously was not practical due to logistical and security reasons.

Whenever assembly elections are held in Jammu and Kashmir, they will be the first since the August 2019 abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and the division of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

The electoral exercise in Jammu and Kashmir is usually spread over a month.

Following a delimitation exercise, the number of assembly seats has gone up from 83 to 90, excluding those allocated to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

In December, the Supreme Court directed the poll panel to hold assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir by September 30.

 On Friday,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the next logical step for Jammu and Kashmir is to restore the assembly and statehood.

“The next logical step in our plan for Jammu and Kashmir will be to restore the assembly and statehood to further strengthen democratic institutions and ensure that the people have a greater say in the affairs of their state. We are committed to working closely with the elected representatives to address the concerns of the people and to accelerate the pace of development,” PM Modi said in an interview with The Statesman.

He expressed gratitude to the people of Kashmir for their overwhelming participation in the historic Lok Sabha elections of 2024.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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