Omar Abdullah questions simultaneous polls across India amid J&K poll hurdles

NC vice-president reacted to CEC's remark that the officers of UT administration had expressed inability to conduct polls simultaneously

Omar Abdullah (photo: IANS)
Omar Abdullah (photo: IANS)


National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah on Tuesday, 19 March, asked if the Centre cannot hold Assembly and Lok Sabha elections together in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), how can it conduct simultaneous polls across the country.

Abdullah was reacting to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar's remark that the officers of the Union Territory administration had expressed inability to conduct the elections simultaneously in view of the requirement of a large number of security forces.

"When the CEC addressed a press conference, he said the ECI and all political parties are ready for polls, but the current administration (in J&K) put hurdles, saying they need more security forces.

"In such a situation, I am forced to question that when no Assembly polls are being conducted in other states like UP, and Bihar, and you cannot conduct simultaneous elections now, then when you talk about one nation, one election, and have to conduct the polls simultaneously in states like UP, MP and Bihar, then where from will you get the forces?" Abdullah told reporters in Srinagar.

He said the ECI had an opportunity to conduct the Assembly polls in J&K, but the Union territory administration did not want to have elections as they did not want to leave power.

"It was an opportunity to conduct the elections. But they (administration) do not want it...they have become uncrowned kings. They have all the power which they do not want to leave. But thank God for the Supreme Court order that the elections have to be conducted before 30 September," he added.

The Supreme Court in December 2023, while pronouncing its judgement after hearing a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370, asked the government to conduct the Assembly polls in J&K by 30 September 2024.

Asked when the party would announce its candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, the NC leader said they were in no hurry.

"Only three candidates have been announced yet, Congress and other parties have not announced (their candidates). We are in no hurry," he said.

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