The Election Commission on Tuesday evening declared that the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to be held by November-December of this year. The Election Commission said that the dates for the polls will be announced after the conclusion of Amarnath Yatra which ends on August 15.
"Election Commission, under Article 324 of the Constitution and other extant laws/rules etc have unanimously decided that holding of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir shall be considered later in this year," an official statement from the Election Commission said.
The 46-day-long Amarnath Yatra is set to begin on July 1, the day of Masik Shivratri, and would conclude on August 15, the day of Shravan Purnima.
Security sources have said that paramilitaries in the Valley will be engaged during the Amarnath Yatra. “We believe that poll dates will be announced soon after the yatra is over,” said a top state police official.
Last year, in June a coalition government between Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) collapsed, since then Jammu and Kashmir are under Governor’s rule. The state recently went to polls in the Lok Sabha elections.
"The Commission will keep on regularly and on real-time basis monitor the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, taking inputs from all necessary quarters and after the conclusion of Amarnath Yatra will announce the election schedule for the conduct of assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir," the statement said.
The BJP leadership of Jammu and Kashmir is also pitching for early elections. “We believe that the Election Commission of India is an autonomous body and they have to decide on elections. They can tell when it will be feasible,” state BJP spokesperson Altaf Thakur said.