Assembly Elections in Jammu and Kashmir

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The Election Commission of India has finally come out along with the schedule of Lok Sabha elections across country. It has also announced the much anticipated polls for Andhra Pradesh, Odhisa, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. The elections are to be held in seven phases starting from April 19 and culminate on June 1. However, much to the disappointment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the simultaneous Assembly elections were not announced for the Union Territory.

The people especially the local political parties were having expectations for the same like other states announced by the ECI. It has prompted severe criticism from the regional parties who sense something fishy behind the scenes for depriving Jammu and Kashmir from the elected government since 2018. In 2018, when the BJP led PDP government collapsed and since then no elections were held therefore, New Delhi continuing its direct rule over the UT through Lieutenant Governor.

The CEC following the meeting with all political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, told in press conference that all parties have demanded Assembly elections in the UT , however, it was difficult for them to hold due to non availability of enough security forces. He said they would have required additional 12 companies of security forces to ensure adequate security for the candidates fielded in Assembly elections, which is not available right now due to Lok Sabha elections.

He assured once the Lok Sabha elections are held in the country, they will hold the Assembly elections in the UT with adequate security measures, though no time frame was given. On the other side, the Supreme Court had also given a deadline to the Union Government to hold Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir by the end of September this year after upholding August 5, 2019 Decision of Indian Parliament that downgraded state into two UTs and abrogated it’s constitutional privileges.

But the regional parties seem hopeless and are sensing something big from New Delhi if Modi is back to power at least with decent majority which seems inevitable. However, India’s democratic credentials are very strong and undisputed and it has managed not only to sustain it but expanded over the decades.

The constitution of the country provides equal opportunities to all its citizens to participate in this largest democratic exercise of the world. On the other hand, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been bereft of such exercise since 2014 which doesn’t augur well for healthy democracy. Let there be elections and allow the people of the UT to have their own elected government which will strengthen the trust of people in democracy.

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