Amit Shah’s J&K visit rescheduled, to begin on Oct 4 now

Srinagar: Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to J&K has been rescheduled and he will now visit the UT on October 4 for two days, sources said.

Shah was scheduled to arrive here on September 30. A BJP source said that the visit earlier scheduled for October 1 and 2 has been rescheduled and Shah will now arrive here on October 4, adding that the visit has been rescheduled because of the Home Minister’s other engagements.

Shah is scheduled to address a public rally in Rajouri district.

Party sources said that during his visit to Rajouri, he will make some important announcements about development and other related issues.

“He will also address a public rally in Baramulla district. During his visit, the Home Minister is likely to announce reservation for the Pahari community as ST,” a source said.

Shah is also scheduled to chair a high-level meeting to review the security situation in the Valley.

Senior officials of MHA, of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and intelligence agencies will accompany the Home Minister.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha will attend all the developmental and security review meetings to be chaired by Shah during his visit.

Some BJP leaders said that Shah will kick start the election campaign of the party during his visit.

Elections were last held in J&K in 2014. But, in 2019, the then state Governor, Satya Pal Malik dissolved the Assembly after the BJP withdrew from Mehbooba Mufti headed PDP-BJP coalition government.

On August 5, 2019, the Parliament abrogated Article 370 and downgraded J&K to the status of a Union Territory, while hiving off Ladakh as a separate union Territory.

The Delimitation Commission was later constituted which reorganised the Assembly constituencies, thereby increasing their number from 87 to 90 with 47 seats in Kashmir and 43 seats in Jammu division.

Elections to the J&K Assembly cannot be held this year because of various reasons. The Election Commission has announced that the final voter list will be published on November 24.

Given the required time period for filing of nomination papers, scrutiny of nomination papers, period for withdrawal of candidature, poll campaign period etc, it is highly unlikely that assembly elections can be held in J&K by the year end as harsh winter sets in by the middle of December.

It is believed that the earliest these elections can be held is April-May 2023 even if various party leaders start their poll campaigns during the remaining period of 2022. (IANS)

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