Election Commission hints at joint assembly, Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir (File Photo)
Amid the demand of simultaneous elections by nearly all mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Tuesday said that the commission had discussed all the feasibility of holding joint assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the state and the final decision will be announced soon at a press conference in Delhi. There are also reports that political parties in the state have impressed upon the ECI to hold the polls simultaneously.
"Commission had discussions with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary, DGP, Union Home Secretary and all political parties. We will consider everything and inform about the decision at a press conference in Delhi," Arora was quoted as saying by ANI.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on if J&K polls will be held along with LS polls: Commission had discussions with J&K Chief Secretary, DGP, Union Home Secretary, & all political parties. We'll consider everything & inform about the decision at a press conference in Delhi. pic.twitter.com/VT8Rt9aYtn— ANI (@ANI) March 5, 2019
The ECI team, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Arora on Monday began interactions with political parties soon after their arrival in Srinagar to review the poll preparations in the state. During its visit to the summer capital, the team has met with officials of the state government, including the deputy commissioners and the district police chiefs, to get a briefing on the security situation in the state.Later in the day, the team left for Jammu and hold similar interactions on Tuesday.
On growing political storm over EVM hackings and malfunction across the country, Arora further said, "We have been using EVMs for more than two decades. If you take a look back at the polls held in 2014 onwards there was X result in Lok Sabha Elections and some political entity won. Then in Delhi Assembly polls, another political entity won with heavy margin in 2015".
"After that there were many polls including Karnataka, 5 state assembly elections (Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram) and everywhere the results were different. Sorry to say we have made EVMs a football, if result is X, EVM is good if result is Y EVM is not good as if EVM is voting. It’s you I who are voting. So no point in going over this again and again," the CEC reiterated.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under the President's Rule since December 20, 2018. Prior to that, it was under the Governor's Rule for six months. The PDP-BJP government in the state fell in June 2018 after the national party pulled out of the coalition.
Almost all political parties in Kashmir, including National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) AND Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) have advocated holding state assembly polls simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections. However, the ECI wants to assess the ground situation in the wake of the current state of heightened tension between India and Pakistan.