Press Trust of india

J&K Assembly Polls: EC to seek legal opinion

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New Delhi, Apr 30: A meeting of the Election Commission to decide the possible dates to hold assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir remained inconclusive Tuesday even as the poll panel decided to approach legal experts on the issue of President’s Rule in the state.

The ‘full Commission’, comprising Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and fellow commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra, met here to discuss the stand of the Jammu and Kashmir administration which wants the election to be held sometime in November.

The state administration had approached the EC last week, saying it is not in favour of holding assembly polls 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.

At the April 26 meet with J&K officials,  the EC had rejected the assertion of the officials from the state that the situation in the state needs to be assessed before conducting the assembly election.

The Commission was of the view that if the Lok Sabha poll could be held, there should be no issue in holding the election to the state assembly.

An official source said the Commission Tuesday decided to seek “further clarification” on “certain aspects” of the issue from Ministry of Home Affairs.

“It was also decided to seek the opinion of an eminent legal expert in the context of ongoing President’s Rule in Jammu & Kashmir,” the source said.

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

While there was a view that the J&K assembly election could be held along with the Lok Sabha poll, the state administration and the MHA were opposed to the idea.

The Centre and the state administration, being managed by the Centre-appointed Governor, were against holding the two polls together.

However, all political parties in the state favoured simultaneous polls during a meeting with the Election Commission in March this year.

The J&K assembly’s six-year term was to end on March 16, 2021, but it got dissolved after a ruling coalition between the Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party fell apart.

Other state assemblies and Lok Sabha have five-year terms.

As mandated by the Constitution, the state was brought under President’s Rule on December 19, 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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