ECI announces deferment of polls on Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat

Srinagar, The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday announced the deferment of polls on Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat. The constituency would go to polls now on May 25.

The polls were deferred after representations from several parties including BJP- which has not fielded its candidate from the constituency. National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Congress, and CPI(M) had opposed the deferment of the elections

The polls were earlier scheduled on May 7.

“Various representations have been received from different political parties of the UT of Jammu & Kashmir for shifting the date of poll of election from 3-Anantnag-Rajouri Parliamentary Constituency (PC) of Jammu & Kashmir, due to various logistic, communication and natural barrier of connectivity turning out as hindrance in campaigning which in turn tantamount to lack of fair opportunities for the contesting candidates in the said Parliamentary Constituency which may affect poll process,” Secretary ECI, Sanjeev Kumar Prasad, said in a statement.

It added that the Commission, after considering a report from UT administration as well as analyzing the ground situation prevailing in the said constituency, has decided under Section 56 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, to revise the date of the poll in the said Parliamentary Constituency.

The elections for the constituency will now be held on May 25.

“This is yet another travesty of free exercise of franchise in J&K that has lost generations in pursuit of democratic rights. This decision to pander to the bonsai parties planted post-August 19 is fraught with immense dangers. It’s a repeat of the disastrous 1987 election fraud,” senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said in his reaction after the ECI’s announcement.

‘The rescheduling of Anantanag PC is a concern that should worry all who believe in the independence of our poll bodies. It is troubling that the opinions of political parties not even in the race were taken into account. No matter what they do,Insha Allah@JKNC-will win the seat.’ NC Spokesman Imran Dar said.

Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti said the PDP accepts the challenge.

“ Anantnag – Rajouri elections postponed only because they fear Ms Mufti will win overwhelmingly. Only because they don’t want a fearless voice in the parliament. But we accept this challenge & will make sure she wins by a bigger margin Inshallah,” she posted on X.

The Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency is witnessing a fierce battle between PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti and NC leader Mian Altaf, an influential Gujjar leader and Apni Party candidate Zaffar Manhas.