Is Assembly Elections in J&K will be held in the months of Aug & Sept ???

Is Assembly Elections in J&K will be held soon, this is the question which is erupting in the mind of every person of J&K. As the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday ruled out simultaneous Assembly and Parliament elections in Jammu and Kashmir, on the grounds of “security and delimitation exercise” but Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar indicated that an Assembly election could be held in J&K “soon after Lok Sabha polls”. Elaborating on the reasons not to hold Assembly and Parliament elections simultaneously, despite the unanimous demand of political parties in the Union Territory (UT), Mr. Kumar said, “The J&K Administration told us [the ECI] that two elections can’t be held at the same time due to more security requirements.”

The J&K administration had told an ECI team, during their recent visit, that there will be roughly 10 to 12 candidates for each Assembly segment, which means there will be approximately 1,000 candidates in the fray. “This means each candidate needs to be given proper security cover and for that, there was more requirement of additional forces,” Mr. Kumar said.

He, however, said that the Commission was committed to hold Assembly polls in J&K “soon after Lok Sabha polls, when security forces will be available.”

Delimitation changes

The CEC also pointed out that the amendment made to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act in December 2023 was another reason for the delay.

“The J&K Reorganisation Act was passed in 2019. There was a provision for 107 seats, 24 of which were in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). Then the delimitation commission came and there was a change in the seats… The Reorganisation Act and delimitation were not in sync. That happened in December 2023. So our meter started running from December 2023,” Mr. Kumar said.

After delimitation, the total seats in the assembly rose to 114 seats, out of which 24 seats are designated for areas that fall under Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Out of the remaining 90 seats, 43 seats are in Jammu division and 47 seats are in the Kashmir division.

Assembly polls are overdue in the JKUT from quite a long time. The Supreme Court, in its December 2023 judgment on the abrogation of provisions of Article 370, directed the government to hold Assembly elections in J&K by September 30, 2024. J&K, which was downgraded to a UT in 2019, saw its last Assembly elections in 2014, and has been under Central rule since the Peoples Democratic Party-BJP government fell apart in 2018. 

This is the longest ever time period that J&K has gone without Assembly elections. Even at the peak of militancy and civil unrest in the 1990s as J&K came under Central rule, the Assembly elections were held within a span of six years, in 1996.

So if these things ( Delimitation & Security Concerns) are addressed, one of which will be over after the Parliamentary polls, then elections may held in the months of August & September which are suitable months for elections in both the regions as weather is quite fair for holding this.