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No delay from our side in holding Assembly polls in J&K, says Chief Election Commissioner

Jammu, March 13: India’s Chief Election Commissioner, Rajiv Kumar on Wednesday said that there had been no delay from their side in holding Assembly elections in J&K and the reason was the dissonance between the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019 and the Delimitation Act, 2022 till December 2023.

Addressing a media conference here, the CEC, to a question on the perceived delay in holding Assembly elections in J&K, cited the “dissonance”.

“We know that according to the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, the number of Assembly seats was kept at 107 after reserving 24 seats from the Pakistan-occupied part of J&K. This left 83 Assembly seats, including 7 reserved for the SCs.

“Through the Delimitation Act, 2022, the number of Assembly seats went up to 114 with 90 Assembly seats, after allotting reservations for the STs. Then, there was a provision of 2 seats for migrants with one women’s seat and one nomination for the displaced persons of PoJK. This picture crystallised in December 2023, and thus, there has been no delay from our side. Just three months have passed and the season has just begun,” he said.

The CEC said a decision on whether the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls should be held together or separately would be taken shortly, keeping in view the discussions held with political parties, the District Magistrates, the Superintendents of Police, and other agencies.

He asserted that the EC “stands on three pillars and these are disclosure, disclosure, and disclosure”.

“Nothing is hidden from the people,” he asserted.

He said the security forces are fully geared up to hold fair and unbiased polls in J&K and these agencies are well aware of the challenges they face.

To a question about when will the two vacancies of Election Commissioners be filled, Rajiv Kumar said: “I am not the appointer in this case and you have asked the question from the wrong person.”

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