Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir are likely to be "considered" later this year and the schedule for it will be announced after the Amarnath yatra, the Election Commission said on Tuesday. The annual pilgrimage to Amarnath, the state's famous cave shrine, ends on August 15.
The state has been under Governor's Rule since June last year, when the BJP ended its alliance with Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party. President's rule came into force in December.
"The Commission will keep on regularly and on real time basis monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, taking inputs from all necessary quarters and after the conclusion of Amarnath Yatra will announce the election schedule for the conduct of assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir," a statement from the Commission read.
There had been expectations among the state's political parties that the assembly election would be held in tandem with the national polls. But while announcing the national polls, the Election Commission said in view of the state government's concerns about the security situation, simultaneous elections cannot be considered and in a first, held a three-phase poll in the Anantnag constituency.
It raised anger in the valley and the state's politicians attacked the Centre over what they called its "failure" to hold timely elections. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in a tweet, said "PM Modi has surrendered to Pakistan, to the militants & to the Hurriyat".
He also pointed out that in 2014, Lok Sabha elections and the assembly elections were held on schedule "even after the most devastating floods". "Shows how badly the BJP & earlier the BJP-PDP mishandled J&K," his tweet read.
In 2014, the state had delivered a fractured verdict that made it necessary for the BJP and the PDP to come together. But the alliance between the two parties, made despite their disparate ideologies, did not last.
This time, the state is likely to witness a four-cornered contest, with Mr Abdullah's National Conference calling off its pre-Lok Sabha election alliance with the Congress.