New Delhi: The Election Commission has decided to not hold assembly election in Jammu & Kashmir simultaneously with the Lok Sabha poll, which the commission announced on Sunday. This has prompted charges that it is the Centre’s admission of the failure of its Kashmir policy.
The chief election commissioner, Sunil Arora, citing security considerations, particularly about the availability of central paramilitary forces, said although Lok Sabha elections will be held in all the six constituencies in J&K, the assembly election would not be held.
The poll panel has appointed three special observers for the state: Noor Mohammad, former IAS officer AS Gill and Vinod Zutshi. Mohammad and Zutshi are retired IAS officers while Gill is a former IPS officer who retired as the director general of the Central Reserve Police Force.
As reactions began to come in from Kashmir, with some suggesting a “sinister” agenda behind the delay of the assembly poll, Arora claimed that the security considerations alone has prompted the decision not to hold the assembly election along with the Lok Sabha election.
To show the security situation was indeed grim in the state, Arora cited that polling for a single parliamentary seat of Anantnag had to be split into three phases.
However, the two former chief ministers, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, were not convinced with his defence.
Mehbooba tweeted: “Decision to hold only parliamentary elections in J&K confirms sinister designs of GoI. Not letting people elect a government is antithetical to the very idea of democracy. Also a tactic of buying time to disempower people by pushing an agenda that suits their ulterior motives.”
Omar, in a post, said, “With the amount of international attention elections in J&K attract I never thought PM Modi would be willing to confess his failure on a global stage but we all make mistakes & that was mine.”