Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

Unwanted deferment of assembly polls

Though spirit of national interest demands restoration of popular rule in Jammu & Kashmir but unwanted deferment of assembly elections shows that helmsmen in Delhi have preferred to keep the political interests of one or two political parties over and above their national interest in Jammu & Kashmir. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora citing security situation the only reason for putting on hold the assembly elections over due in Jammu & Kashmir state is a remark which has attracted criticism from people of all hues within and outside Jammu and Kashmir state. While the fact remains that security situation in Kashmir valley is not as hostile as it was last year when municipal and panchayat elections were held amid boycott by two largest regional mainstream political parties National Conference (NC) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), the deferment of assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir would by all probabilities lessen the chances of high turnout in both the lok sabha and assembly elections to be held separately now. The conduct of lok sabha and assembly elections separately would also result in unprecedented increase in the election expenditures for the government. Above all the conduct of assembly elections is not as big a challenge as it was in the year 2008 in the aftermath of Amarnath land row agitation when people were polarized along regional and religious lines in a hostile security atmosphere in both Kashmir and Jammu divisions of the state. Deferment of assembly polls would be a set back to the restoration of the popular rule the time when restoration of political activity is the only way to restore peace and order in the state.

Election Commission Of India taking a decision on timing of assembly elections in conflict with the views of political parties has brought the institutional neutrality of the commission into disrepute and as such corrective measures are required to restore the institutional neutrality of the commission.

Democracy is the soul of peace as only a popular government musters the courage to take bold initiatives for restoration of peace in any part of the world and same holds good for the people of Jammu & Kashmir state. Above all the Election Commission of India has not shown respect to the views of political parties who had in full public glare voice their support for the conduct of lok sabha and assembly elections in the state. Election Commission Of India taking a decision on timing of assembly elections in conflict with the views of political parties has brought the institutional neutrality of the commission into disrepute and as such corrective measures are required to restore the institutional neutrality of the commission. Better it would be for the election commission to review the security situation and take a decision on the conduct of early assembly elections in consultation with the mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir.

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