Assembly elections soon in J&K: Election Commission of India

Will fulfill people's desires to govern themselves, make their choice: Chief Election Commissioner

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Srinagar: The Election Commission of India (ECI) Monday announced that it will soon initiate the process of holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

During a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar expressed enthusiasm about the voter turnout in Jammu and Kashmir during the Lok Sabha elections, highlighting the eagerness of the people to engage in the democratic process.

“We are very enthused by the voter turnout in Jammu and Kashmir during the Lok Sabha elections, which showed the eagerness of the people to participate in the democratic process. The story of Jammu and Kashmir is a very hopeful story,” said Kumar. He also referenced other regions, such as LWE areas and Manipur, noting the widespread desire for democratic participation.

Kumar shared an anecdote about a young voter, and highlighted the commission’s commitment to empowering the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “I showed a photo of a girl, whose eyes were shining when she was voting. We want to fulfill people’s desires that they can take their governance in their own hands and make their choice. We will very soon start that process of assembly elections in J&K,” he stated.

The CEC was referring to the historic voter turnout during the recently held Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir in which morte than 58 percent of people in Jammu and Kashmir exercised their franchise. This was the highest polling percentage in JK for LS polls witnessed in the last more than three decades.

The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly election of 2014 took place in five phases from November 25 to December 20, 2014. During this election, voters elected 87 members to the Legislative Assembly, whose six-year term was set to end on January 19, 2020. The results were announced on December 23, 2014. Voter-verified paper audit trails (VVPAT) were used along with electronic voting machines (EVMs) in 3 out of the 87 assembly seats.

This election was the last before the territory’s special status was revoked and Ladakh was designated a separate union territory in 2019. It resulted in a coalition government between the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as Chief Minister. Following Sayeed’s death in January 2016, Mehbooba Mufti took over as Chief Minister after a brief period of Governor’s rule.

In June 2018, the BJP withdrew support from the PDP-led government, leading to the imposition of Governor’s rule. The state assembly was dissolved in November 2018 by then-Governor Satya Pal Malik, despite efforts by several political parties to form a government. President’s rule was imposed on December 20, 2018.

The political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir shifted significantly in 2019 with the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to the region. The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act reconstituted the state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, effective from October 31, 2019.

In March 2020, a three-member Delimitation Commission was established, chaired by retired Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, to delineate the union territory’s constituencies. The commission’s final report, released on May 5, 2022, added six seats to the Jammu division and one seat to the Kashmir division, raising the total assembly seats to 114, with 24 seats designated for Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The new delimitation came into effect on May 20, 2022.

In 2020, District Development Council (DDC) elections were held, marking the first elections after the revocation of special status. The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) secured 110 seats, while the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 75 seats.

On December 11, 2023, the Supreme Court upheld the abrogation of Article 370 as constitutional and mandated the Election Commission of India to hold legislative assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir before September 30, 2024. Additionally, the parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill 2023, which reserves seven seats for Scheduled Castes and nine seats for Scheduled Tribes in the assembly.

Key Events ahead of Assembly Elections in JK:-

November 25 to December 20, 2014: The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly election took place in five phases.

December 23, 2014: Election results were announced.

January 19, 2020: The six-year term of the elected assembly members was set to end.

January 2016: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away, and Mehbooba Mufti took over as Chief Minister after a brief period of Governor’s rule.

June 2018: The BJP withdrew support from the PDP-led government, leading to Governor’s rule.

November 2018: The state assembly was dissolved by then-Governor Satya Pal Malik.

December 20, 2018: President’s rule was imposed.

August 05, 2019: Article 370 was abrogated.

October 31, 2019: The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act came into effect, reconstituting the state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

March 2020: A three-member Delimitation Commission was established.

May 5, 2022: The Delimitation Commission released its final report.

May 20, 2022: The new delimitation came into effect.

2020: District Development Council (DDC) elections were held.

December 11, 2023: The Supreme Court upheld the abrogation of Article 370 and mandated the Election Commission to hold legislative assembly elections before September 30, 2024.

2023: The parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, reserving seven seats for Scheduled Castes and nine seats for Scheduled Tribes in the assembly.

Apr-May 2024: Parliament Elections were held with JK witnessing 58 percent of polling- highest in the last 35 years—(KNO)

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