The Election Commission of India and the Chief Electoral Officer Jammu & Kashmir have formally set process of assembly elections into motion by initiating the work for poll schedule and appointment of returning officers for all the 87 assembly constituencies in the flood hit Himalayan border state.
Authoritative sources while disclosing this to KNS said that While the Election Commission of India has sought detailed proposal from the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir about the phasing of the polls by strictly considering the climatic conditions of the Assembly constituencies within next three days, the Chief Electoral Officer of the state Umang Narulla has issued a notification designating Government officials as Returning Officers for all the 87 Assembly constituencies of the State.
Following the deliberations of a team of the Election Commission of India headed by Deputy Chief Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi with the top state government officials including Chief Secretary, Director General Police and Chief Electoral Officer and the contesting political parties , the Election Commission while getting updates about relief and rehabilitation programs in the flood hit parts of the state told the Chief Electoral Officer of J&K Umang Narula to submit detailed proposal about phasing of the elections, Sources added.
Sources said Chief Electoral Officer has been directed to conduct constituency-wise phasing strictly keeping in view the climatic conditions prevailing in these constituencies in the month of December and this by standards of understandabilities is a clear indication of the intentions of the Election Commission of India on holding of timely Assembly elections in the flood ravaged State.
“The Commission has made it clear that phasing should be conducted in such a manner that all those Assembly constituencies, whose even some portion gets snowbound in first week of December are kept in the very first phase”, sources added. Meanwhile a top government official on the conditions of anonymity told Kashmir News Service (KNS) that Election Commission of India has sought all these details before Tuesday (October 14) in order to facilitate the Election Commission of India to take a final decision in its meeting scheduled to be held on October 20 and with this the election process has been formally set into motion.
In response to a question the top government official said ‘constituencies like Gurez, Uri, Tanghdar, Loab in North Kashmir Leh, Kargil, Nubra, Zanskar of Ladakh region, Bani of Kathua district, Gool-Gulabgarh of Ramban district, Inderwal of Kishtwar district, Bhaderwah of Doda district and Bandipora etc which usually become snowbound early December would be covered in first phase of polling’.
As very limited time is left for submitting the details sought by the Election Commission of India, the Chief Electoral Officer has started seeking constituency wise details from the District Election Officers (Deputy Commissioners) and they have been asked to ensure the same by Monday afternoon, the official said.
Meanwhile, on the directions of the Election Commission of India Chief Electoral Officer has issued notification appointing Returning Officers for all the 87 Assembly constituencies of the State. Meanwhile Chief Electoral Officer Umang Narulla when contacted told Kashmir News Service (KNS) “ How can I divulge what transpired between me and the authorities of Election Commission Of India. A confidential matter of great sensitivity like the phasing of Elections or appointment of returning officers can’t be disclosed to newspapers”.