With 2019 Assembly Elections just a few months away, the Election Commission (EC) is all set to visit Jammu and Kashmir to take stock of the prevailing situation in the state. Jammu and Kashmir was brought under President's Rule on December 20, 2018, after he Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government was reduced to a minority following withdrawal of support by the BJP in June. The dissolution of the Jammu and Kashmir government paved the way for the Union cabinet to take all policy decisions related to it.
Addressing a press conference in Kolkata, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora last week said the commission will hold a meeting with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officials and then visit the state to decide on holding the assembly elections in the state along with the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2019.
"We had held a meeting (through video conference) with the chief secretary and the DGP of Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly, when the Assembly was dissolved prematurely, we had sought specific inputs from the MHA," Arora was quoted as saying by the media. The full bench of the EC is currently in Kolkata to take stock of election preparedness in West Bengal.
In a dramatic turn of event, Governor Satya Pal Malik had on November 21 dissolved the 87-member state assembly after the PDP, supported by the Congress and their arch rival National Conference (NC), had staked claim to form another coalition government in the state.
On whether the commission was planning to hold Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana along with the Lok Sabha elections, Arora said as of now no decision has been taken in that context. "We have no formal or informal inputs that the assemblies are going to be dissolved prematurely. So the question is quite premature," he told reporters.
The last Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana were held on October 15, 2014. Elections for the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly are due to be held in 2019, concurrent with the Indian general election, 2019.
(With inputs from agencies)