Srinagar: For the first time in India`s electoral history, polling for one Lok Sabha seat - Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag constituency - will be held in three phases, the Election Commission announced on Sunday.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, who announced the Lok Sabha poll schedule, said the elections for the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly will not be held along with the Lok Sabha polls. "We will have to carry out three phases of election for just one constituency - of Anantnag - so you can imagine how complicated it is," he said.
The restive state will have five phases of voting for its six Lok Sabha seats.
In the first phase on April 11, voting will be held in Baramulla and Jammu constituencies, while Srinagar and Udhampur constituencies will go to vote in the second phase on April 18. Voting in Anantnag will be held on April 23 and 29 and May 6, while Ladakh will also go to polls on May 6.
Counting for all the six Lok Sabha seats will be held on May 23, along with the rest of the country, and results would be announced the same day, election officials said.
While announcing the schedule for the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls on Sunday, the Chief Election Commissioner said the poll panel was constantly monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and will take a decision about the Assembly elections soon.
"Constrains of availability of central forces and other logistics, requirement of central forces for security of candidates in the wake of the recent incidents of violence and keeping all other challenges in mind, the EC has decided to announce only the parliamentary elections at this stage," Arora told the media.
The EC has been continuously assessing the prevailing situation in the state, requirement of central forces and other logistics for holding elections, requirement of security of candidates and preparedness of the state on key factors including the recent developments, he said.
Arora said the decision to not hold the two polls simultaneously was taken based on inputs given by all the stakeholders, including the Home Ministry, political parties, central and state agencies and district administrations.
"Based on the inputs and recommendations of all the stakeholders, we have decided to announce only the parliamentary elections. The EC will regularly and on real time basis monitor the situation and take inputs from all the stakeholders. A decision on Assembly elections will be taken soon," added Arora.
Most mainstream political parties in J&K expressed their disappointment and anger at the EC`s decision to not hold Assembly elections simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls.