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Jammu And Kashmir: Election Commission Holds Consultation With Political Parties

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After a gap of 5 years, Kashmir is witnessing political activity, with the Election Commission conducting meetings and consultations with political parties in the Kashmir Valley to discuss the preparedness for the Parliamentary elections in the Union Territory. Leaders from political parties such as the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, and Bharatiya Janata Party met with the Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. Most of the political parties demanded that the Parliamentary and Assembly Elections in the valley should be held simultaneously.

The National Conference leaders, who met with the CEC, stated that they demanded both elections should be held together, citing concerns that holding two elections in a year in the UT would lead to massive losses for the tourism industry.

“We met the Election Commission today in Srinagar and demanded that both the Parliamentary and Assembly elections should take place together. It’s been ten years since the people of Jammu Kashmir have not had a chance to elect their governments. We also raised concerns about how tourism is flourishing in the valley now and how holding two elections in a year can affect tourism. The PM also keeps saying one nation, one election, so why not start it with Jammu and Kashmir? We are hopeful that they will listen to our demands,” said Nasir Aslam Wani, a National Conference Leader.

Meanwhile, the BJP leader’s delegation that met with the CEC stressed the easing of voting for the people, especially for the Kashmiri Pandit Community. The BJP leaders also supported the idea of holding both elections together in the Union Territory.

“We were a delegation of four, and we spoke about easing voting for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and how to achieve maximum voting percentage in the Valley. We also discussed Kashmiri Pandit Votes and how to simplify it for them as well. We want polling booths to be set up in Jammu and Delhi from where they can cast their votes. BJP believes elections are important, and we want the assembly elections to be held soon. If they decide to hold both elections together, we are ready for it,” said Advocate R S Pathania, a BJP Leader.

The People’s Democratic Party said that if the center claims the security situation in the valley has improved, then nothing should stop them from holding both elections together in the Valley.

“We raised all our points and concerns with the Election Commission. We raised the point that if the security situation in the valley is alright, what’s stopping them from holding parliamentary and assembly elections together in the Valley? We are hopeful that they will decide to hold them together,” said G N Hanjura, a PDP Leader.

The CEC also met with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer and officers’ administration, besides having consultations with Jammu and Kashmir Police officers of all areas and other security agencies working in Kashmir to get a firsthand account of the situation in Kashmir. The CEC will be interacting with political parties in Jammu on Wednesday.

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