Polls to be held in occupied Kashmir from Nov 25

NEW DELHI: Assembly polls in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) and Jharkhand will be held in five phases between November 25 and December 20 and the counting of votes will take place on December 23, the Election Commission announced on Saturday, reports the Press Trust of India (PTI).

Polling in both states will take place on November 25, December 2, 9, 14 and 20, Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath said in a press conference here.

By-elections to three assembly seats in Delhi, which fell vacant after their MLAs resigned following their victories in the Lok Sabha polls, will be held on November 25.

Brushing aside demands from some quarters, mainly the ruling National Conference, that elections in flood-hit IHK be postponed, Sampath said the recent calamity will have no “special impact” on polls.

He said the post-flood situation, along with other aspects like climate, festivals and the law and order situation, have been taken into account while deciding the poll schedule.

“Except for one political party, most of the political parties (in Jammu & Kashmir) are in favour of holding elections on time.

They said there is no reason, no justification for delaying the polls. The EC’s mandate is to hold elections on time,” he said.

The current six-year term of the assembly of Jammu & Kashmir comes to an end on January 16.

The Jammu & Kashmir assembly has 87 seats and Jharkhand has 81 seats. Altogether 10,015 polling stations will be set up in Jammu and Kashmir and 24,648 in Jharkhand.

Voters can also exercise the “None of The Above” (NOTA) option.
“The commission is taking steps to bring this to the knowledge of voters and all other stakeholders and to train all field level officials, including the polling personnel, about the NOTA option,” a commission statement said.

Soon after the EC announcement, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted his displeasure.

“While the NC was keen to rehabilitate the flood-affected people before anyone else’s political rehabilitation, the EC felt differently,” he wrote.

“Now with election dates announced, there is no question of not contesting the forthcoming polls… We will put our best foot forward,” he tweeted.