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SRINAGAR — The Election Commission of India (ECI) is likely to go ahead with Assembly elections in J&K by the end of this year. The development comes after representatives of various political parties interacted with Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi here. The final announcement by the ECI is likely to be made on October 20, Greater Kashmir reported.

Except for the National Conference and BJP, all major political parties like Congress and PDP have demanded that Assembly polls be held on time to ensure proper rehabilitation of the flood victims.

“ECI has almost decided to respect the views expressed by the majority of the political parties in J&K. This indicates that elections would be held on time,” sources said. “There is every likelihood that Assembly polls will be held in December this year.”

The ECI had deputed its DEC to Jammu and Srinagar to get a firsthand account of the stand taken by the political parties of the State on Assembly polls in the wake of devastating floods. Sources said that ECI will announce its final decision with regard to Assembly polls in J&K on October 20 after which the proper notification will be released.

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“There is every possibility that election notification/schedule will be announced on the same day,” sources said.

Sources said that the State’s intelligence grid has also given a go-ahead to the ECI for holding polls on time besides almost all Deputy Commissioners of the State have expressed their willingness for the same. “ECI has already received the reports and suggestions from various security agencies and DCs. All have favoured polls be held this year,” said a source privy to the development.

Sources said the State Election Department has been directed to complete the revision of all electoral rolls. “We are finalizing the rolls and will be able to publish the final list on October 15,” J&K Chief Electoral Officer, Umang Narola, said.

He said the final decision on holding Assembly polls was up to the ECI. “The DEC has met representatives of all the major political parties and got their feedback. Let us see what decision they take,” said Narola.

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On how many voters would be added to the list of voters announced at the time of Parliamentary polls, he said approximately over 2.5 lakh voters would be added to the list. “Though the final and accurate list would be available on October 15,” he said. At least 70 lakh voters were registered in the Parliamentary polls held in J&K earlier this year.

The main opposition party, PDP, while terming the elections as a compulsion had urged the DEC to reduce the electoral process by holding polls in very less phases. “This will obviously be the case if elections are held this year,” a source said.

While Congress is of the belief that people want a new government, the ruling National Conference asserts that rehabilitation of flood-hit victims was their priority, not the elections. The BJP too wanted to see normalcy back in the flood-hit JK before fighting polls.

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