Keeping in mind the violence during the bypoll of Srinagar Lok Sabha seat which left eight people dead and many injured on April 8, the Election Commission has deferred the Anantnag Parliamentary bypoll from April 12 to May 25.
The ruling PDP supported the postponement of the bypolls to Anantnag assembly seat. The J&K government gave a report that the law and order situation in the south Kashmir constituency was not suitable for conducting free and fair elections.
Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s brother and PDP contestant Tassaduq Hussain Mufti had sought the postponement of elections last week. The Home Ministry had also advised that the elections should be deferred and held only after the Panchayat elections. Earlier the Election Commission had rejected the suggestions to postpone the elections.
The Centre assured that it would try its best to encourage the Kashmiris to vote in large numbers in the upcoming elections. “Some youth under the guidance of Pakistan pelted stones in the valley during the election to which ultimately the people of the valley are suffering. The voting ratio has decreased in the valley. We will try our best to encourage the people of Jammu and Kashmir to come out and vote in the upcoming elections. Every citizen has the same right and must use their right to vote as given by the Constitution of India,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir said.
By May 25, the Election Commission expects the law and order situation in the Valley to improve so that election can be conducted in a free and fair manner.
As the violence continues, a government school, designated as a polling station for the Anantnag bypoll, was set ablaze in south Kashmir’s Padarpora area of Shopian district.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said: “With the ruckus that is happening in Kashmir, Election Commission (EC) of India should cancel the elections for at least two years so that peace prevails and violence issues are sorted out.”