Srinagar Remains Tense, Election Commission To Discuss On J-K Poll Schedule

8 September 2008

Srinagar: The Election Commission on Monday will hold a meeting of all political parties of Jammu and Kashmir to determine the timing of the State Assembly elections. The Commission has decided to assess the situation in New Delhi after doubts were expressed whether polls could be held in the wake of the recent violence in the state. As of now, the state is scheduled to hold Assembly polls in the months of October-November. Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad quit in July after his coalition government was reduced to a minority following the withdrawal of support by the People’’s Democratic Party over the Amarnath forestland row. The State Assembly was dissolved on July 10 and Governors rule was proclaimed. Meanwhile, the coordination committee of the Hurriyat Conference met at the residence of hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Sunday to decide on the programme for the week starting Monday. “There shall be a general shutdown on Monday against the all-party meet called by the Election Commission of India to explore the possibility of elections in the state,” Geelani told reporters. “The shutdown has also been called against the brutal killing of a youth in Nowhatta on Saturday by the police and the decision of the Government to detain and shift senior separatist leaders to jails outside the valley,” Geelani added. On the other hand, the BJP’’s national general secretary, Arun Jaitley, has demanded that Assembly polls in the state be held on time. “Elections should be held and there should not be any delay. And the political activities would be in the interest of the state,” Jaitley, who is incharge of elections for Jammu and Kashmir , said during a one-day convention of the BJP in Jammu on Sunday. He said the BJP would convey its stand on the issue at Monday’’s meeting of the EC in New Delhi . “Holding the elections on time can be better for Kashmir . Any delay would be construed as succumbing to separatists,” Jaitley said accusing the Congress of attempting to put off polls not only in J-K but also in the entire country. He said the state was fast returning towards normalcy after the recent agitation. When asked about holding fresh delimitation of assembly constituencies in the state, he said: “We want delimitation to end discrimination (with Jammu ). However, we do not want delay of polls by going for delimitation. It can be done by the Assembly later.” Jaitley also ruled out alliance with any regional political party in Jammu and Kashmir . “We do not have any ideological compatibility with any party. It is easy to go for alliance in any other state, but not in Jammu and Kashmir ,” he added.