Jammu And Kashmir Elections Unlikely This Year As Voter Roll Deadline Pushed Into Winter

Jammu and Kashmir is without an elected government since June 2018; was divided into two UTs in 2019, which meant redrawing electoral map

Centre-appointed Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha at present, remains in charge.

Srinagar:

Possibility of assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir this year looks bleak as the Election Commission of India has extended the deadline for revision of electoral rolls.

The last date is now November 25, close to the onset of winter, when holding elections becomes difficult in Kashmir. The deadline was October earlier, which would've given a window to hold the elections.

Jammu and Kashmir is without an elected government since June 2018, when the BJP dumped the PDP, leading to collapse of the Mehbooba Mufti's government.

Elections kept on getting delayed under central rule, and then came revocation of Article 370 — ending J&K's special status — besides the downgrading and division of the state into two Union Territories. The UT of J&K was granted an assembly — Ladakh UT doesn't have one — but there needed to be redrawing of constituencies on the new map.

That process, called delimitation, was supposed to be completed within a year. After two extensions in tenure, the delimitation commission completed its work only in May this year. After that began the revision of electoral rolls. The ECI told the chief electoral officer of J&K to publish the final rolls by October.

This was seen as prelude to elections in which people would finally get a chance to choose their government, even though the assembly in a UT has limited powers. Greater authority rests with the Centre-appointed Lieutenant Governor.

For now, the Lieutenant Governor remains in-charge wholly. And the wait for restoration of democracy is only getting longer.

A decision may be expected after November 25, once the summary revision of electoral rolls is finished.

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