Jammu and Kashmir: All political parties favour joint Lok Sabha, Assembly polls, decision soon, says Election Commission


The Election Commission of India (ECI) has said that almost all political parties in the state have expressed full faith in the ECI and supported holding state assembly polls simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections. The team, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, reached Jammu on Tuesday in the second leg of the two-day tour and held discussions with the representatives of various political parties, including the BJP, Congress, National Conference, PDP, CPI(M) and the National Panthers Party (NPP), officials said. A similar exercise was conducted by the ECI in Srinagar on Monday as part of its efforts to assess the feasibility of holding the Lok Sabha and the assembly polls together. On the issue of need for elections, almost all political parties voiced the need to have both We are mindful of the challenging law and order situation in the state. Commission will look into due security arrangements while deciding on the timing and phasing of the elections, he added. The CEC said the party representatives and the public at large have full faith in ECI that it would fulfil its constitutional mandate to conduct free and fair elections in the state. He rejected the apprehension concerning the EVMs and complaints in this regard and said they are being used for a long time now. After taking into account all the viewpoints, we will take a decision in New Delhi and announce it in the press conference, Arora said. All political parties emphasised due security arrangements be made to provide adequate security to voters and candidates so as to instil confidence in them for a conducive environment for forthcoming elections, he said. Arora said for the first time in the forthcoming general elections, VVPATs will also be used at all polling booths along with the EVM machines and officers need to ensure that awareness to all stakeholders about proper usage of the machines for smooth conduct of the polls. The CEC said the parties also cited instances of transfer of some officers in violation of ECI norm. The Commission solicits proactive support of all political parties, media, civil society, youth and community organisations and all voters of the state to join hands with it and wholeheartedly participate in the poll process, the CEC said.

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