March 2019 News
J&K Assembly Elections: Poll Observers Face Partial Boycott In Kashmir14 March 2019
Srinagar: The special team of poll observers appointed by the Election Commission of India arrived in Srinagar on Thursday and met various political parties and the state administration to 'assess the ground situation' for conducting assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the team faced partial boycott by a number of regional parties including National Conference, CPI (M), Peoples Democratic Front and Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN). 'The leaders of these parties didn't turn up to meet the delegation while Peoples Democratic Party and Congress leaders met the delegation and raised their concerns,' sources said. The parties who boycotted the ECI observers said they have already met the EC team headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora. 'We have already pitched for simultaneous elections in the state. We have nothing new to say in this regard now,' Ali Mohammad Sagar, senior NC leader said. Officials said the observers including former IAS officers Vinod Zutshi, Noor Muhammad, and former IPS officer A S Gill will 'assess the situation' in Kashmir for conducting assembly elections. Election commissioners, Sushil Chandra and Ashok Lavasa, Deputy Election Commissioner, Sandeep Saxena, Director General ECI, Dilip Kumar, ADG Sheyphali Sharan, Director Nikhil Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer J&K, Shailendra Kumar were present during the meeting. During their meeting, the state Congress, PDP, Peoples Conference and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) told the ECI delegation that elections to Lok Sabha and state assembly sought should be held simultaneously. The Congress delegation was headed by former minister and senior leader Taj Mohi-ud-din and former MLA Bandipora Usman Majeed. The PDP delegation was headed by former minister and former MLA Sonwar, Muhammad Ashraf Mir and former MLA Batamaloo Noor Muhammad. Both the parties told the 'Special Observers' that simultaneous elections should be held in the state. Peoples Conference (PC) delegation led by Abdul Gani Vakil and Junaid Azim Mattoo and BJP leaders led by Asif Masoodi and M M War also called on ECI delegation and discussed the conduct of assembly elections. PDP leader, Muhammad Ashraf Mir told Kashmir News Service that the party pitched for simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, 'We have already urged the ECI to hold polls simultaneously and pitched for the early polls yet again,' he said. Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) General Secretary, Usman Majeed said that they apprised the ECI delegation about the ground situation and the resentment among the people after the ECI's decision to delay the assembly elections. 'We informed them that people here feel fishy behind withholding the assembly elections as if the atmosphere is conducive for Lok Sabha election then why not for assembly elections,' he said, adding that the ECI's decision has affected the reputation of Election Commission and it seems they are following the policy of GoI. PC leaders have also pitched for early assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir during the meeting with special observers. BJP General Secretary (Organization), Ashok Koul said a team of the party met the ECI delegation and pitched for early elections in the State. 'We had pitched for simultaneous elections in the past and raised similar views this time again,' Koul said.