Five-phase poll in J&K, Jharkhand

Polling to be held between Nov 25-Dec 20

Five-phase poll in J&K, Jharkhand

Assembly elections in Jharkhand and flood-ravaged Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) will be conducted in five phases from November 25 to December 20, the Election Commission announced on Saturday.

Polling will be held on November 25, December 2, December 9, December 14 and December 20. The counting of votes in both the states will be held on December 23.

The term of the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly will expire on January 3, while the term of the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir Assembly will end on January 19.

By-polls for three Assembly constituencies—Mehrauli, Tughlakabad and Krishna Nagar—in Delhi will be held on November 25. The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately after the announcement of dates. The code of conduct will, however, not affect relief and rehabilitation process underway in J&K.  

Though the commission did not name any party, it rejected the suggestions of the ruling National Conference that the situation in the state was not favourable for holding elections since many people were living in relief camps.

“All political parties, except one, favoured elections when we met them during our visit to Jammu and Kashmir,” Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath told a press conference while replying to questions on whether the post-flood situation in the state is conducive for elections.

He asserted that the commission comprehensively verified the situation and interacted with all stakeholders before deciding the schedule.

Sampath said that adequate arrangements have been made to ensure free and fair polling and photo-voter ID slips will be distributed to those who are living in relief camps.

Election Commissioner H S Brahma also revealed to reporters that the commission has a “Plan B” in place to shift polling to safer places in case of firing in border areas.

In view of the “sensitive” security and law and order situation in both the states, adequate state and Central forces will be deployed, Sampath added.  

The poll schedule will remain same for both the states except for the date of notification. Notification for polls in J&K will be issued on October 28 and for Jharkhand it will be issued on October 29.

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