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J&K Assembly elections unlikely soon

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EC to meet on April 30 to discuss dates: Sources

Srinagar/New Delhi: The Election Commission officials will meet in the national capital on April 30 to discuss the possible dates of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls, official sources said Friday.

However, indications suggest that the election to the J&K Assembly may be deferred as the election authorities in Jammu and Kashmir Friday withdrew an order within hours after they had asked the district election officers to submit information about district level nodal officers for 2019 Assembly elections in the state within two days.

On Friday, top officials from the Jammu and Kashmir government, including Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmaniam, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra and DGP Dilbagh Singh, met the Election Commission officials in Delhi to discuss the poll preparedness in the state, officials said.

However, the Jammu and Kashmir governor administration is not in favour of holding polls to the state legislative assembly in the near future in view of the ongoing tourist season and the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra in the Valley, which will begin on July 1, they said.

The sources said the "full commission" comprising the chief election commissioner and two fellow commissioners will meet on April 30 to discuss the possible dates of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls.

The officials said the EC, during the meeting, rejected the assertion of the officials from Jammu and Kashmir that the situation in the state needs to be assessed before conducting the Assembly polls.

They said the Commission was of the view that if the Lok Sabha polls could be held, there should be no issue in holding the elections to the state assembly.

The meeting took place days after the three special observers appointed by the EC submitted their report on the possibility of holding Assembly polls in the state after the Lok Sabha polls.

The state chief electoral officer had met the deputy election commissioner concerned on Thursday, ahead of Friday's meet.

On Friday, the election authorities in Jammu and Kashmir had written to district election officers to submit list of district level nodal officers within two days for assembly polls in the state. However, the order was withdrawn within hours of it being issued.

Jammu and Kashmir has not an elected government since the PDP-BJP coalition government fell apart in June 2018.

The state was placed under Governor's Rule, as provided by the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, on June 19, 2018, after the BJP withdrew from its coalition with the PDP.

As mandated by the Constitution, the state was brought under President's Rule on 19 December 2018, which will have to be extended for a period of six months on May 19, 2019, or till an elected government is put in place, whichever is earlier.

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