Lok Sabha, Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls to be clubbed together next year: Sources

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Srinagar: The Election Commission, which has to hold fresh assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir before May 21 next, is likely to club it with the Lok Sabha elections due next year, highly-placed sources in the poll panel said Thursday.

The state assembly was dissolved by Governor Satya Pal Malik on November 21 citing the “impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies” and the “fragile security scenario in the state”.

Mentioning a Supreme Court direction, the sources said the “outer limit” for holding fresh polls after the dissolution of a house is six months, that is May 21 next year.

They also said that the apex court has made it clear that the poll panel should hold elections in the first available opportunity.

“It is likely that they could be clubbed with Lok Sabha polls,” they said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has a six-year term while other assemblies and the Lok Sabha have a five-year term.

Its term was to end on March 16, 2021.

The sources in the government, meanwhile, pointed out that when security forces are deployed for the Lok Sabha polls in the state, it would be convenient for election authorities to hold the assembly polls simultaneously.

Malik dissolved the assembly shortly after People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form a government with the support of the National Conference and the Congress. She cited a collective strength of 56 MLAs in the 87-member House.

A separate claim to form a government was made by Sajad Lone of the two-member People’s Conference who claimed support of the Bharatiya Janata Party and 18 MLAs from other parties.

The state assembly was kept under suspended animation since June when Governor’s Rule was imposed after the BJP ended its alliance with the PDP.

Since last year, the EC has not been able to hold bypoll to Anantnag Lok Sabha seat citing law and order situation and lack of central forces.

 

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