ECI Hints Towards Holding Assembly Polls In Jammu Kashmir

The assembly elections have not been held in Jammu and Kashmir since 2014.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar | Photo: PTI

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has hinted towards holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir after the poll body invited applications seeking an allotment of 'common symbols' from registered unrecognised parties in the Union Territory.

The assembly elections have not been held in Jammu and Kashmir since 2014. The last time Jammu and Kashmir had its own Chief Minister was in June 2018. It was when Mehbooba Mufti was the erstwhile state’s CM. Jammu and Kashmir has been under Governor’s rule from 2018. Following Article 370 abrogation and subsequent downgrading of State to UT, J&K administration has been led by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha

ECI has announced to seek the allotment of the symbols under Para 10B of the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968, with “immediate effect” in Jammu and Kashmir.

Interestingly, while the recognised national and state parties have their 'reserved symbols', registered unrecognised parties have to apply for them to field candidates in the election. Under the Election Symbols order, any registered unrecognised political party can apply for a 'common symbol' six months prior to the end of the term of a House.

However, since there is no functional assembly in Jammu and Kashmir yet, the EC is inviting applications.

The date for the assembly polls has not yet been declared. However, in December last year, the Supreme Court had directed the poll panel to hold the assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir by September 30.

Earlier this week, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said the poll body will begin the election process in the union territory “very soon”.

“We will very soon start the poll process in Jammu and Kashmir, we are very enthused by voter turnout…Jammu and Kashmir recorded the highest turnout in four decades at 58.58 per cent overall, and 51.05 per cent in the valley,” he said.