J&K polls: EC to hold further consultations to decide timing, says VS Sampath

The Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath said on Saturday that a final decision over the dates of the Assembly Elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be taken only after holding a further round of consultations at the national capital.

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2014, 19:01 PM IST
J&K polls: EC to hold further consultations to decide timing, says VS Sampath

Srinagar: The Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath said on Saturday that a final decision over the dates of the Assembly Elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be taken only after holding a further round of consultations at the national capital.

After interacting with the political parties in the poll bound state today, Smapath said, “Election Commission will hold further consultations in Delhi before deciding on timing for Jammu & Kashmir Assembly polls.”

Assuring the masses that the election procedure will not disrupt the relief work, Sampath added, “Elections not to interfere with relief work in flood-affected J&K.”

As part of exercise to decide the timing of Assembly polls in the state which was recently ravaged by floods the EC visited J&K today.

The full Election Commission comprising the Chief commissioner, VS Sampath, and two commissioners, HS Brahma and Naseem Zaidi, arrived here today on a two-day visit.

Yesterday, the EC sources said that Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir would not be deferred and most likely will be held on schedule.

"In all likelihood the Assembly elections will be held in December and not deferred to next year," the sources had said.

However, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had said on Tuesday that people of the flood ravaged state were still struggling to rebuild their lives and holding assembly elections now might result in "zero percent turnout".

"We don't believe that this is the opportune time to have elections, people are struggling to rebuild their lives as the most heavily populated areas of Kashmir Valley had been inundated with flood," Abdullah had said after meeting union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here.

"Your capital city (Srinagar), which anyway has a less than optimum turnout in elections, tomorrow when zero percent turnout happens, who would you blame for that? You certainly can't blame me because I am not the one pushing for elections," he added.

Abdullah, however, added that the state government was capable of holding the polls but was not sure about the timing.

The new government in the state has to be in place before January 19, 2015 when the six-year term of the the present Assembly ends.

Assembly elections have to be held in time so that putting the state under the governor's rule is avoided.

Jammu and Kashmir was severely affected by unprecedented floods early September. Lakhs of people were marooned across the state for days. Thousands lost all they possessed.

With Agency inputs