Omar Abdullah: ‘Hope Assembly Elections in J&K Held as Scheduled’

Omar Abdullah: 'Hope Assembly Elections in J&K Held as Scheduled

Omar Abdullah said there was hope that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will be able to elect their representatives after the PM’s announcement made on Yoga Day

Amid uncertainty over the final schedule for the impending assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir, former chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah expressed hope that the elections are held within the timeline stipulated by the Supreme Court

The leader, who was addressing media at the conclusion of the party’s two-day working committee meeting in Srinagar, pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the UT announced that the process to hold the polls was already underway.

Abdullah said there was hope that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will be able to elect their representatives after the PM’s announcement made on Yoga Day. Addressing party workers, the leader said they should not wait for the announcement of poll dates and start the groundwork to strengthen the party’s base in all the constituencies.

Scepticism looms

Many leaders in the Valley, however, remain sceptical about the polls. “I don’t think that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), after seeing the fate of its proxies, will dare to hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP wants the CM’s chair, which isn’t possible — especially in the backdrop of the results of Lok Sabha polls. So the Centre will look for any excuse to get the elections further delayed,” a former legislator and senior NC leader said.

The party leadership after winning two Lok Sabha seats wanted the government to hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir at an earliest. “The Supreme Court has set a deadline for assembly polls, so we hope the government and Election Commission of India will keep its promise of holding polls in the UT. How long will they deny people their right of getting their assembly representatives elected,” another NC leader said.

A senior PDP leader also had apprehensions about the assembly polls, saying, “You cannot trust the words of the BJP leadership. Since the abrogation of Article 370, they have been saying elections will be held and Jammu and Kashmir will get back statehood. On the ground, nothing has happened so till the dates are announced, we have kept our fingers crossed.”

A long wait

In his maiden speech in the Lok Sabha, Srinagar MP Aga Ruhullah also highlighted how the UT has been denied assembly elections for the last 10 years.

The last assembly elections were held in 2014, wherein the Peoples Democratic Party emerged as the single largest party with 28 assembly seats followed by the BJP and the NC. Later the PDP and the BJP formed a coalition government, which fell after the latter withdrew support in 2018. Later on August 5, 2019, the state was bifurcated into two UTs and Article 370 was also abrogated — leaving the region with no elected representatives .

The EC has started revising electoral rolls again along with other poll-bound states like Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand. However, recently, social media was abuzz with posts suggesting that assembly elections could be further delayed in the UT giving way to unease.

In the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, a record 59% voters exercised their franchise drawing praise form both the PM and the EC.

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