Elections
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SRINAGAR — As the country gears up for the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for April-May 2024, preparations are in full swing in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, including the Union Territory of Ladakh.

With Jammu and Kashmir having five Lok Sabha seats and Ladakh having one, the electoral landscape is poised for significant political activity.

In the preceding 2019 General Election, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) clinched victory in two seats, whereas the National Conference emerged triumphant in three. However, the Congress party did not secure any seats, whereas the BJP emerged victorious in the Lok Sabha elections in Ladakh.

This year’s election marks the first Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir after the Central government’s decision to abrogate Article 370.

Traditionally, elections in Jammu and Kashmir are conducted in multiple phases. In 2019, the process spanned five phases. The upcoming election is anticipated to follow a similar pattern, with the Election Commission of India expected to announce the election schedule in the coming weeks.

To ensure the smooth conduct of elections and assess the security situation, the reports said that the full Election Commission of India is set to chair two high-level security review meetings in Jammu and Kashmir.

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These meetings will involve interactions with political parties, stakeholders, as well as administrative and law enforcement authorities. During their visit, the Commission plans to hold comprehensive meetings with all 20 Deputy Commissioners and Senior Superintendents of Police. Additionally, separate meetings are scheduled with Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo and Director General of Police R R Swain.

These discussions aim to strategize security measures and evaluate the feasibility of conducting assembly polls alongside the Lok Sabha elections. The Election Commission is committed to ensuring foolproof security arrangements to facilitate violence-free and transparent elections. With the shadow of cross-border militant activities looming, stringent measures are imperative to uphold the democratic process.

In light of security concerns, the Election Commission has approved the deployment of 635 paramilitary companies in Jammu and Kashmir. This significant presence underscores the commitment to maintaining law and order and safeguarding the electoral process.

Furthermore, the Commission will engage with senior leaders of major national and regional political parties, as well as other stakeholders, to solicit their input and address any concerns. Their participation is crucial in fostering an environment conducive to free and fair elections.

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As the nation awaits the announcement of the election schedule, all eyes are on Jammu and Kashmir as it braces for an electoral exercise amid heightened security measures and evolving political dynamics, especially after the abrogation of Article 370.

Meanwhile, the Union Territory Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Ladakh administration have commenced preparations to ensure the smooth conduct of polls with utmost security. With five Lok Sabha seats at stake in the Jammu and Kashmir region, comprehensive measures will be put in place to safeguard the electoral process and maintain law and order.

The government is committed to providing full security coverage to polling booths, election personnel, and voters to facilitate a seamless voting experience.

Under the guidance of the Election Commission of India, the UT administration will coordinate with law enforcement agencies to bolster security arrangements across the region. Focus areas include the deployment of security personnel, surveillance mechanisms, and preemptive measures to counter any potential threats.

With the support of the local administration and law enforcement agencies, the Ladakh UT Government aims to uphold the integrity of the electoral process and ensure a peaceful environment conducive to democratic participation.

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