EC team defers J&K visit
Srinagar, April 25
Ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged Election Commission of India (ECI) to indefinitely defer bypolls to Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency in view of prevailing law and order situation in south Kashmir.
However, Congress, which is fighting the bypoll in an alliance with main opposition in the state National Conference (NC), said it will boycott the election if Governor’s rule was not imposed in the state.
Meanwhile, An Election Commission team, slated to visit Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday for an on-the-spot assessment ahead of the Anantnag Lok Sabha bypoll, postponed its trip. The team instead interacted with candidates, field election officers and civil and police officials concerned via video conferencing. “The Election Commission team postponed the visit due to a religious festival there. District administration and police officials would have come to Srinagar to interact with the Commission. It is better they stay in their areas due to festivities and the resultant law and order scenario,” said a senior official here. According to the official, the team held detailed interaction with various stakeholders, including candidates, representatives of political parties and officials on various issues.
The Election Commission had on April 10 postponed the Anantnag Lok Sabha bypoll to May 25, citing inputs by the Jammu and Kashmir government that law-and-order situation was not conducive for polling. The by-election was to be held on April 12.
The Commission hoped that by May 25 the law and order situation in the constituency would be normal to hold a free and fair poll.
Earlier, a high level team of ECI yesterday reviewed Anantnag Parliamentary bypoll preparedness and assessed security situation through video-conferencing.
A PDP leader said that their party candidate for bypoll Tassaduq Hussain, who is brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, made the plea during a video conference with EC officials yesterday. The ECI also held video conference with other candidates contesting the bypolls to ascertain their views about holding of elections to the constituency on May 25. By-poll in the constituency necessitated following resignation by Mehbooba Mufti who become chief minister and got elected from Anantnag Assembly seat which felt vacant after the death of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in January last year.
However, the polling which was scheduled to be held in the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat was deferred by ECI following death of nine persons and injures to over 100 during violence on poll day in Srinagar LS seat which recorded just 7 per cent voter turnout.
An official said Deputy Election Commissioners, Umesh Sinha and Sandeep Saxena, besides Director Secretariat of ECI Nikhil Kumar were briefed yesterday by Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu, Divisional Commissioner Baseer Khan, IGP, DIG CRPF and concerned District Election Officers about the bye-poll preparedness and security situation particularly in South Kashmir.
The Chief Electoral Officer also held a detailed meeting with representatives of political parties, contesting candidates, Officers of the Police and other security agencies in which District Election Officers and SSPs of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam districts participated through video conferencing.