SRINAGAR: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has taken an exception to Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor G C Murmu’s statements on the conduct of elections in the Union Territory, saying issues such as poll timings solely fall within its remit.
“It would be proper for authorities other than Election Commission to refrain from making such statements which are virtually tantamount to interfering with the Constitutional mandate of Election Commission,” the poll watchdog said it a statement.
It cited a report in The Tribune on Monday that quoted Murmu saying polls would be held after the ongoing delimitation exercise. The statement referred to Murmu’s similar statements in other newspapers.
“Election Commission takes exception to such statements and would like to state that in the Constitutional scheme of things, the timings etc of elections are the sole remit of Election Commission of India,” said the commission.
The Government of India in March 2020 set up a Delimitation Commission to redraw parliamentary and assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Nagaland.
The statement said EC takes into account factors such as topography, weather, sensitivities, and local festivities before deciding the election timing. “For example, in the current times, Covid-19 has introduced a new dynamic, which has to be and shall be taken into consideration at the due time.”
The statement said the outcome of delimitation is also relevant to the decision related to polls in the union territory. “Similarly, the availability of central forces and railway coaches, etc. for the transportation of CPFs [central paramilitary forces] are important factors. All this is done after meticulous homework by the senior officials of the Commission and a detailed assessment in due consultation with concerned authorities.”