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Special EC observers hold discussions with top civil, police officers over Assembly elections

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Jammu, Mar 16: The three special observers appointed by the Election Commission Saturday held discussions with top civil and police officers here as part of their exercise to decide when to hold Assembly elections in the state.

The three observers -- Noor Mohammed, Vinod Zutshi and A S Gill -- held a meeting with state Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh and Principal Secretary, Home Department, Shaleen Kabra, officials said.

The observers have held discussions with representatives of political parties, district development commissioners and senior superintendents of police over the past two days in Srinagar and Jammu to assess the situation in the state to enable the poll panel to take a call on holding Assembly elections.

They are scheduled to leave for Delhi on Sunday and will brief the Election Commission about the feedback from political parties and civil and police officers on the issue, the officials said.

While announcing the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections on Sunday, the poll panel had said that Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be held simultaneously due to security concerns flagged by the Centre.

National Conference, CPI(M), Peoples Democratic Front and Democratic Party Nationalist boycotted the meeting, saying they have nothing more to add to their demand of having simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state.

Jammu and Kashmir is currently under President's Rule since December 19, 2018 which was necessitated at the end of the six-month period under the Governor's Rule imposed on June 19, 2018.

The PDP-BJP government in the state fell on June 19, 2018 after the national party pulled out of the coalition.

Since the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has been dissolved, the Election Commission is bound to hold fresh polls there as well within a six-month period, which will end in May.

Almost all political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have advocated holding the Assembly polls simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls.

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