Election Commission of India (ECI)
Election Commission of India (ECI)

SRINAGAR — National opposition and regional political parties of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission of India, seeking the holding of early elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the memorandum, as per the reports from the news agency KNS, the leaders of the national opposition and Jammu and Kashmir political parties have demanded the ECI to announce the holding of elections in J&K, which is without a legislative assembly for the last five years.

The memorandum was signed by National Conference leader Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, Prof. Mary Kenn of RJD, TR Ballu of DMK, Sharad Pawar of NCP and other senior leaders.

The memorandum reads that Jammu and Kashmir is without a legislative assembly and an elected government for the last five years. “In disregard of the letter and spirit of the Constitution, an unrepresentative and unaccountable bureaucracy is allowed to run the government to the discomfort and inconvenience of the general public.”

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It reads the panchayat elections and elections to other PRIs cannot be a substitute for legislative assembly elections and the government and for that matter, the ECI cannot avoid and delay assembly elections on that ground. “Had it been so, there would be no need to conduct assembly elections in states, where the ECI is with due dispatch and punctuality, as is evident from recently held assembly elections in Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland and the elections scheduled to be held in Karnataka,” it reads.

It added in each case of the argument though, inherently specious, could have been that as PRIs were in place there was no need to hold assembly elections. “The Home Minister and other functionaries of the Government of India have more than once stated that the government is ready to facilitate the conduct of assembly elections and final call is to be taken by the Election Commission of India.”

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It further reads the Election Commission of India is under a constitutional obligation to hold assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and delay in and denial of assembly elections would amount to denial of fundamental and democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and a breach of constitutional obligations.

“We, however, reiterate that the assembly election would be a first and important step towards the restoration of all the constitutional rights guaranteed in the constitution of India and fulfillment of political aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” it added.

It reads, “We, the signatories to this memorandum representing different political parties of Jammu and Kashmir and various national political parties, implore and request the Election Commission of India to announce the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir without any further delay and notify the election schedule so that the democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and access to democratic institutions is restored.”

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