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Assembly polls unlikely till August-September

Parliamentary Elections: Election Observers to visit J&K next weekrinagar : Ahead of Lok Sabha polls commencing from April 11 in Jammu and Kashmir, the three observers appointed by the Election Commission of India for monitoring the situation in Kashmir are all set to arrive .

Sources said that the observers will reach Jammu and Kashmir next week most likely on Monday and will assess the ground situation in the state and its readiness for the Parliamentary elections.

Election Commission on Sunday appointed three former civil servants Amarjit Singh Gill (IPS 1972 Batch, Former DG, CRPF), Noor Mohammad (IAS 1977), and Vinod Zutshi (IAS 1982) as special observers for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

The ECI Sunil Arora announced five phased Lok Sabha polls in the strife torn Jammu and Kashmir from April 11.

Interestingly, for the first time in the poll history of Jammu and Kashmir, the ECI announced three phased polls. The four southern districts of Kashmir have been under tight grip of new age militancy ever since young militant commander Burhan Wani was killed in July 2016.

The situation in south Kashmir continues to remain on the edge.

Sources said that the three observers will stay in Kashmir and also visit Jammu to assess the ground situation and also monitor the nature of poll campaign launched by the political parties for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

“The observers will also monitor misuse of social media for electoral gains,” sources said.

Though political parties of JK including National Conference, PDP, Congress and even BJP had demanded simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls but ECI has other plans.

Sources said that the observers will gauge the ground situation after remain stationed in the state for a few months.

On their feedback, the ECI will take a call on holding LA polls in the state.

“It seems impossible for the commission to hold LA polls till August-September at least,” said sources.

Sources confirmed to ET that both the MHA and the J&K administration had told the Commission that they cannot provide excessive number of security personnel for simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the state.

The State came under Governor’s rule last year after sudden withdrawal of support to the PDP by the BJP. The New Delhi removed Governor of the State, NN Vohra with Satya Pal Malik, who after completing his six month’s stint was made as the care take Governor with State taking a plunge into presidential rule.

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