ECI must announce early Assembly Elections in J&K: Harsh

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Shadow Correspondent
Jammu, Feb 11
While the recent Elections to urban local bodies as well as Panchayats were held in the most peaceful manner in J&K state, it was bizarre to note the Election Commission announcing to review the security scenario before taking any decision about the conduct of the Assembly Elections in the state said Harsh Dev Singh JKNPP Chairman and Former Minister. Only recently the Chief Electoral Officer J&K on the directions of ECI had convened a meeting in Jammu with all recognized political parties of the state and discussed the preparations for the Lok-Sabha Elections, he reminisced. There was however no mention of Assembly Elections in the meeting with hints dropped about the proposed visit of ECI to the state to take stock of the prevailing security scenario, he pointed out. He said that the state unit of BJP did not favour early Assembly Elections in the state and was therefore trying to use its influence with its central leadership to delay and deny the democratic process in the state. He was addressing a press conference in Jammu today. Reiterating the need for the early elections to J&K legislative Assembly in the state, Mr. Singh said that any delay in this regard would not only amount to subversion of democracy but also violate the orders of the Supreme Court. He was reacting to the rumours doing rounds in the political circles that the Assembly Elections might be held after the Parliament polls by extending the President’s Rule. The people could not be deprived of their democratic rights in the state only for the political inexpediencies of the ruling party at the centre by taking the plea of security releated issues, said Singh. And that too in a situation wherein the Union Home Minister as well as the state Governor had made statements of full preparations having been made for the said Elections including arrangements of security personnel. With the State earlier remaining under Governor Rule for six months followed by President’s Rule, it would be wholly unjustified and unconstitutional to plan further extension of central Rule after May 21, said Harsh Dev Singh.
While ridiculing the statements of security constraints made in certain circles, he said it was ludicrous to take the plea of shortage of security personnel for holding simultaneous polls for Parliament and Assembly in the state as the number of polling stations to be catered by the security staff for both the elections would remain the same. “Even the Supreme Court had ruled that Elections to legislative Assemblies in states, where Assemblies are prematurely dissolved, should be held within a period of six months. In the case of J&K, the period of six months expiring on May 21, the Elections to legislative Assembly were required to be held within the time frame prescribed by Apex court and popular govt installed before the stipulated deadline”, added Mr. Singh. He said the democracy could not be held hostage for the political expediencies of the ruling party at the centre.

Flaying the BJP led NDA for denying the people of J&K their democratic rights, Mr. Singh said that people could not be further deprived of their right to choose their own representatives and to have an elected govt in the state. If the Municipal and the Panchayat elections could be held in the state, the postponement of Assembly elections on frivolous grounds defied all logic and rationale, Harsh argued.

Referring further to the order issued by the Election Commission of India to all the states in the month of September 2018, Mr. Singh revealed that in the advent of the pre mature dissolution of the State Assembly, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) would immediately come to force in the state concerned till the completion of the election to constitute the new Assembly. “If the MCC was imposed in Telangana last year in view of the dissolution of its Assembly before maturity, why the State of J&K was left out in the similar circumstances by defying the ECI’s directives? He appealed the Election Commission of India to seek explanation for delay in enforcement of the MCC in J&K in conformity with its order and take a decision for holding early elections in the light of Supreme Court’s directions without any further delay.

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