CEC, team assessing Valley’s election readiness

The National Conference, Congress, and People’s Democratic Party will advocate for early Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, while the BJP defers the decision to the Commission.

| Updated: 12 March, 2024 2:34 pm IST
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and nine other Commission officials arrived in Srinagar to check the preparedness

SRINAGAR: Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and nine other Commission officials arrived in Srinagar to assess preparations for Lok Sabha elections in the Union Territory. Over the next two days, they will engage with civil and police authorities and seek input from various political parties.

The National Conference, Congress, and People’s Democratic Party will advocate for early Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, while the BJP defers the decision to the Commission. The BSP has opted to boycott, citing concerns over inadequate security for their leaders.

Official sources told The New Indian “CEC Rajiv Kumar, accompanied by high-ranking Election Commission officials, arrived in Srinagar on Monday evening. On Tuesday, they will engage with leaders from diverse national and regional political parties, as well as senior officers from civil and police administration, along with Deputy Commissioners and SSPs from all 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir.”

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The team from the Commission, headed by Kumar, included Dharmendra Sharma and Nitesh Vyas, Senior Deputy Election Commissioners, Hirdesh Kumar and Manoj Kumar Sahoo, Deputy Election Commissioners, B Narayanan, Director General, Shubra Saxena, Pankaj Shrivastava, and Deepali Masirkar, all Directors, and BC Patra, Secretary. They are scheduled to be in Jammu on March 13, and upon their return to New Delhi, the Election Commission is anticipated to release the timetable for Parliamentary elections. 

In addition to assessing readiness for Lok Sabha elections, the Commission may explore the feasibility of scheduling Assembly polls in the Union Territory, considering the Supreme Court’s deadline of September 30 for this process.

While talking to The New Indian, PCC spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said “ Congress team will demand conduct of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir without any delay”. The Congress delegations will also demand equal opportunities for all parties, particularly the Opposition, in addressing security concerns. Additionally, they will advocate for the distribution of updated voter lists to all political parties in English, Urdu, and Hindi.

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National Conference and PDP leaders confirmed their attendance at the meeting with the Election Commission, emphasizing the synchronization of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. They will also address various issues related to the polls and political parties during the discussion.

Various other political parties are also scheduled to meet the Commission. The Panel is anticipated to release the Lok Sabha election timetable upon returning to New Delhi from Jammu and Kashmir, triggering the activation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

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