Hold Lok Sabha, Assembly polls together: Mainstream camp tells ECI

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Ishtyaq Ahmad

Srinagar, Mar 4: The full team of Election Commission of India (ECI) saw a united face of Jammu and Kashmir’s mainstream camp that advocated holding of Parliament and Assembly polls jointly in the State for ending the political instability and uncertainty in the trouble-ravaged state.
The ECI team held separate meetings with the delegations of National Conference, Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, Bhartiya Janata Party, and the individuals’ candidates and saw all in once one voice demanding that the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls be held jointly for the larger interest of people of the State.
ECI team arrived in J&K on a two-day visit to gauge the mood for holding polls that are due for the State. The team started from Srinagar. Camping at The Lalit—Grand Palace, the ECI team met National Conference delegation led by party general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar.
Talking to a news agency Sagar said: “We have urged the ECI not to wait for anything more and instead announcement dates for holding Lok Sabha and Assembly polls together so that the prevailing uncertainty and political tensions are done away by the elected government,” he said.
“We told ECI that at present, the situation in Kashmir was fragile and elections were the only way out to bring normalcy and elected government would work on a peace mission to safeguard the interests of people of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh respectively.”
Congress delegation also met ECI. Senior Congress leader Taj Mohiudin said that his party has strongly pitched for holding parliamentary and Assembly polls simultaneously. “It’s for the security agencies to create a conducive atmosphere for polls. As for as Congress is concerned, we are ready for both parliamentary and Assembly polls and these polls should be held together,” Mohiudin told reporters after meeting ECI.
The PDP that has been rattled by the internal wrangling with many of its leaders quitting the party also supported early polls in the State. The delegation led by its senior leader A R Veeri, Rafi Ahmed Mir and others.
“We are ready and our party will contest both elections with people’s support. We told ECI that the prevailing alienation and the unpredictable situation can only be handled by the elected government in the State and that they should announce the dates as soon as possible and hold Lok Sabha and Assembly polls together,” PDP chief spokesperson Rafiq Mir said.
BJP general secretary (organisation) Ashok Koul said over phone that BJP was ready and was in support of holding early elections be that parliamentary or Assembly polls. “We have put forth our stand before the ECI. The party is ready to face polls in the State,” he said.
Chairman Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) Hakeem Muhammad Yasin said that he told ECI team that at present Kashmir was going through a worst phase of alienation and only way out to deal with the situation was to hold polls in the State. “Let’s hope, ECI pays heed to the views expressed by the mainstream leaders irrespective of their party ideologies and stand,” he said.
Sources in the ECI said that that the team would fly to Jammu tomorrow and meet parties and officials from the administration there tomorrow and by March 8, it will announce its verdict on holding polls in the State.
Meanwhile CPI (M) delegation consisting of Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Mohammad Afzal Parray and Ghulam Ahmad Ganie called on Election Commission of India team headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and raised the issues related to holding of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
The party spokesman in a statement said that the delegation apprised the visiting CEC delegation that Jammu and Kashmir state is without an elected government for the past almost nine months and in the absence of an elected government, uncertainty in the state is deepening day-by-day and dissatisfaction among a large section of people is increasing. The only effective response to this situation is to initiate the democratic process and hold elections to Assembly and Lok Sabha simultaneously. The CPI (M) leaders urged the CEC to announce the election dates for the Parliament and Assembly as soon as possible to end the prevailing political uncertainty in the sensitive state. (KNS)