Jammu And Kashmir Election Must Be Held Before May, Says Election Commission

A file photo of Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat.

NEW DELHI — The Election Commission on Thursday said fresh elections in Jammu and Kashmir would be held within the next six months even as it did not rule out the possibility of holding polls there before the Lok Sabha polls due next year.

“The Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls must be held on the first occasion before May… it could be held before parliament elections also,” Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said.

He said as per the Supreme Court, the outer limit for holding fresh polls after dissolution of a house is six months, that is May, 2019.

At the same time, he made it clear that the Commission will decide on poll dates after “considering all aspects.”

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He said, Supreme Court verdict, an outcome of Presidential reference, also said polls will have to be held on the first occasion which means even before six months.

He said the same principle was applied in Telangana where the assembly was dissolved prematurely.

The state Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the assembly on Wednesday evening, after People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form government along with her arch-rival Omar Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) and the Congress.They claimed the support of 56 lawmakers in the 87-member state assembly.

Shortly after, People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone also staked claims to form the government. Lone, who has two lawmakers, said he had the support of the BJP’s 25 legislators and “more than 18” others.