Rajiv Kumar
Rajiv Kumar

SRINAGAR — Chief Election Commissioner of India Rajiv Kumar on Wednesday said that the Commission will take a final call on holding concurrent Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in J&K after thorough consultations with the security agencies and political parties.

“We are equally concerned about Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in J&K,” Chief Election Commissioner of India, Rajiv Kumar told a press conference in Jammu, as per the news agency KNO.

He said that the Commission wants Lok Sabha and Assembly polls soon. “As far as holding the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls simultaneously, we will hold thorough consultations with the security agencies and also get the feedback from the political parties,” he said in reply to a query whether the Commission intends to hold Lok Sabha and Assembly polls simultaneously.

Replying to a query about security needs, the CEC of India said that they will draw a sketch and see how much is the requirement for Lok Sabha polls and Assembly polls. “We will also see how much will be the security requirement if both elections are held concurrently,” Kumar said.

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He said that there are 86.9 lakh voters in J&K including first-time voters and voters above 100 years of age. “We will ensure free and fair polls,” he said.

The CEC of India said that in case of any mischief, violence or fake news, the same should be reported on the cVigil portal. “Action will follow within 100 minutes of the uploading of the complaint,” he said.

About the ECI team’s visit to Kashmir and Jammu, Kumar said that they met various political parties in Srinagar and the majority of them demanded concurrent Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. “Some parties complained that security cover of their candidates has been trimmed unnecessarily and they are not given permissions to carry out political activities,” he said.

Kumar said that the issue of less participation of migrant voters in the election process also popped up. “Official teams will visit migrant voters in Jammu and urge them to participate in polls,” he said.

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He said that there are 44 lakh male and 42 female voters. “The ratio is almost the same,” he said, adding, “There are 67,000 voters with disabilities, 77,290 voters over the age of 85, and 2,886 centenarians. Notably, over 3.4 lakh individuals are first-time voters, reflecting a vibrant and dynamic electoral landscape.”

The CEC said that victory of the ballot is a festival of democracy and added that for the first time, persons with disabilities will have the facility to vote from home. “A team will visit the house of disabled voters along with the candidate. Same will be videographed,” he said.

It may recalled that the Supreme Court in its judgement has stated that statehood to J&K should be granted and Assembly polls be held before September 2024.

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