JAMMU : As the Delimitation process and revision of the electoral rolls had been completed in Jammu and Kashmir in year 2022, people in general and the political parties in particular are hopeful that the Election Commission will take the next logical step of announcing the poll schedule to the Assembly of the Union Territory in 2023.
Assembly elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir can also not be ruled out this year, sources said adding that the elections in Jammu and Kashmir may be held in the summer of 2023 after winter conditions subside, and the timing would depend on the security scenario. The final electoral roll of Jammu and Kashmir was published on November 25 last year paving the way for polls, the first since Article 370 provisions were abrogated and the erstwhile state was bifurcated into Union Territories in 2019.
As the Assembly elections could not be held in 2022, political parties in Jammu and Kashmir are disappointed as another year has passed by without holding Assembly elections in the Union Territory. Moreover the Centre has already promised of restoring statehood to J&K.
This demand has found resonance with the major political parties and their leaders including former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Ghulam Nabi Azad.
On the political front, National Conference, the oldest political party in Jammu and Kashmir, said the political emancipation in Jammu and Kashmir was at its lowest as the Union Territory was being administered by those not elected by the people.
“Many things have been promised to the people of J&K like the restoration of democratic institutions. We were told as soon as Delimitation process would get concluded, the Election Commission of India would announce Assembly elections but they didn’t take place as yet,” said a political leader belonging to opposition party.
The last year was a disappointment as the ground situation remained uncertain and no steps were being taken to restore the confidence of the people in the democracy.
“If situation has improved, then democracy in its real sense should be restored here. Elections are part of the democracy and should be held,” said another leader adding that political activity in true sense was not taking place in Jammu and Kashmir as a level playing field for all political parties was missing.
BJP government conducted Panchayat and DDC elections in Jammu and Kashmir and it was time to restore other democratic institutions as well, said another leader .
“BJP government has made Panchayats on the ground level, have also formed DDC and BDC which the previous governments had not allowed to happen. For this, the credit goes to the BJP government,” said a senior leader.
“2022 was the year of expectations for the people of Jammu & Kashmir but elections could not be held. In a democracy elections should have taken place,” he said.
BJP’s Tarun Chugh, National General Secretary Incharge of Jammu and Kashmir, has recently said that election announcement is the prerogative of Election Commission.
As the revision of electoral rolls has been completed in Jammu and Kashmir, Chugh had said he expected that the polls in the Union Territory will be announced soon.
Pertinently Delimitation exercise of J&K has been done in the Union Territory for Assembly seats including 43 Jammu and 47 Kashmir, 9 seats reserved for ST and 7 for SC and 24 seats reserved for PoJK.