Jammu sore polls not announcedOctober 14th, 2008 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS
Jammu, Oct 14 (IANS) The uncertainty on assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir has caused deep resentment among the people in the Jammu region who were looking forward to the elections on schedule towards the end of Novmeber. “It is unfortunate that the Election Commission has not taken the nationalistic viewpoint into consideration,” said state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Ashok Khajuria. “The Election Commission should have announced the polls with the other states,” he added.
While the Election Commission Tuesday announced the dates for assembly polls in five states - Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan - it said that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was being assessed.
“No decision has been taken on Jammu and Kashmir polls,” Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswamy told reporters in New Delhi Tuesday.
“Why no decision on Jammu and Kashmir?” asked Virender Kumar, a grocery shop owner in the Peer Mitha area of the walled city. “Everything is normal here,” he pointed out.
The assembly polls were scheduled to be held by November 20, when the life of the assembly would have expired. However, with the assembly dissolved since July 10, when Kashmir came under Governor’s Rule, it is mandatory to have a new house in place before January 10 next year. If that doesn’t happen, the state would slip into President’s Rule and all the legislative powers of the state would be vested with the Indian parliament.
Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party leader Harshdev Singh said he did not know what weighed on the mind of the commission but felt that “now the government should go in for fresh delimitation to give Jammu its due share of seats in the assembly”.
Jammu has only 37 seats as against 46 for the Valley.
“The Election Commission has demonstrated its Kashmir-centric attitude by not deciding about the polls,” commented political science student Vijay Sharma. “The ground situation is definitely better than when polls were held in 1996 or 2002,” he added.
Ritu Gupta, a boutique owner in the posh Gandhi Nagar locality, reacted bitterly. “By not announcing elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the Election Commission has favoured the agenda of the separatists, who want the democratic process to go haywire,” she maintained.