The election for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly will not be held along with the Lok Sabha polls due to security reasons, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora announced on Sunday.
The Jammu and Kashmir assembly was dissolved on November 2018 after the ruling coalition between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) fell apart in June 2018.
The CEC said the decision follows due to information the EC had received from authorities regarding constraint of availability of central forces for the security of the people in the wake of recent violence in the state. He said that poll observers have been closely monitoring the situation in J&K.
The six-year term in J&K was scheduled to end on March 16, 2021. The state is currently under President's Rule, hence the EC is bound to hold fresh polls there as well within a six-month period, which will end in May.
Polling will be held in the state in five phases on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29 and May 6. There are six constituencies in J&K--Baramulla, Srinagar, Anantnag, Ladakh, Udhampur and Jammu. The parliamentary election for Anantnag seat will take place in three phases --phase 3, phase 4 and phase 5.
National Conference (NC) leader and former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah slammed the decision and took a jibe at PM Narendra Modi. "First time since 1996 Assembly elections in J&K are not being held on time. Remember this the next time you are praising PM Modi for his strong leadership," he tweeted.
He said in 2014, J&K had Lok Sabha elections on time and assembly elections on the schedule even after the most devastating floods, but delaying them now "shows how badly the BJP & earlier the BJP-PDP mishandled J&K".