EC starts preparations for Assembly elections in J-K

Election Commission of India (ECI)

SRINAGAR — Brightening the chances of holding Assembly elections later this year, the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines have started reaching the Union Territory amid the process of rationalization of polling stations.

Political parties have geared up for Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir as the Election Commission has intensified preparations by starting revision of voter lists after the Delimitation Commission completed its exercise.

“The VVPAT machines have started reaching Jammu and Kashmir indicating about holding of Assembly elections in November-December this year. The Election Commission of India will take the final call next month,” a senior official of the Election Commission said, as per news agency KINS.

The National Conference, PDP, which is part of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) has decided to contest Assembly elections together and asked workers to prepare for polls. The PAGD could also expect to make an impact in the Muslim-dominated Chenab and Pir Panjal areas of the Jammu region.

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Similarly, the BJP central leadership has sought details from local party leaders about the BJP’s prospects in upcoming elections. Its leaders are holding meetings with workers these days.

Similarly, Congress is all set to appoint a new J&K party president in an attempt to revitalize the faction-ridden party in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of Assembly elections.

Senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad will lead the party in Jammu and Kashmir during the elections, sources said. This was unanimously resolved in a meeting of the senior party leaders from J&K held in New Delhi recently in presence of AICC general secretary, KC Venugopal, senior AICC leaders Ambika Soni and Ghulam Nabi Azad.

J&K Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari has been holding rallies and asking people to vote for the party. The party recently held several rallies including in the Jammu region.

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Similarly, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has dissolved its Jammu and Kashmir unit to revamp the organization structure in the Union Territory ahead of the polls. AAP leadership has decided to accommodate new entrants into the organization and prepare for Assembly polls.

In the last Assembly elections, PDP won 28 Assembly seats followed by BJP’s 25, National Conference 15, and Congress 12. The BJP won maximum seats in Hindu-dominated areas of the Jammu region.

As BJP was well short of the 44 seats needed to form its government in 2014, Kashmiris believe that BJP’s focus is on Hindu-dominated areas of Jammu and SC and ST population to cross the 45-mark in upcoming elections.

There are nine seats for Schedule Tribe and seven seats for Schedule Caste (SC).

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