Srinagar: The Election Commission (EC) has called a high-level meeting in New Delhi on Friday to discuss possibilities of holding the Assembly poll in Jammu and Kashmir, which is presently under President’s rule.
An official told Greater Kashmir that the State’s Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar, Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh and Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra would meet the EC team to discuss the “feasible time” to conduct Assembly election in the state.
“The EC would seek their feedback on different poll-related issues and options given by its special observers before taking a final call on the matter,” the source said.
The meeting is taking place eight days after the special observers, appointed by the EC to asses the ground situation, submitted their report.
When contacted EC spokesman, Sheyphali Sharan, said the report of observers is under examination.
In their report, the observers have given three options to hold Assembly polls in the state, which is without an elected government for the past 10 months.
The source said the first option given by the observers is to hold an election between June 8-24, another alternative is to conduct the election from May 15-June 15. The third option is to hold the Assembly poll after September 15.
The EC had appointed Noor Muhammad (former IAS officer), Vinod Zutshi (ex-IAS officer) and AS Gill (retired IPS officer) as special observers to assess the situation in the state. Immediately after their appointment, the observers visited the state. They held meetings with representatives of political parties, government officials and other stakeholders during their five-day stay in the state.
The observers had submitted their report to the poll-body last week. It may be recalled that the state had plunged into a political crisis on June 19, 2018, after the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government collapsed following withdrawal of support by the BJP in the state.
The state had then come under Governor’s rule. On November 21, the State Assembly was dissolved after Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Conference staked separate claims to form a government in the state. After the six-month period of Governor’s rule ended, J&K was placed directly under the President’s rule.
As per Supreme Court ruling, the EC has to initiate steps for conducting the election within six months in case of premature dissolution of Assembly. So in case of J&K, the EC has to initiate steps for holding poll before May 20.