JK now prepares for maiden Assembly polls

| | Jammu
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JK now prepares for maiden Assembly polls

Sunday, 09 June 2024 | Mohit Kandhari | Jammu

Close on the heels of the announcement of the Lok Sabha poll results the Election Commission Authorities and the regional political parties have started preparations for the maiden Assembly polls in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Election Commission of India is expected to take a final call on the timeline of much-awaited Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir in the coming weeks. 

The Apex Court had earlier set a deadline of September 30, 2024, to conclude the poll process in the region.

The Election Commission gave the first indication in this direction after it decided to accept applications seeking allotment of ‘common symbols’ from registered unrecognized parties in the Union Territory with immediate effect.

“The Commission has decided to accept applications seeking allotment of common symbols under Para 10B of the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968, for the General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Union Territory of J&K with immediate effect,” the EC statement read.

An official explained that under Para 10 B of the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968, any registered unrecognized political party can apply for a ‘common symbol’ six months before the end of the term of a House.

But since no Assembly is functional in J&K, the Election Commission (EC) has issued a press statement inviting applications for symbols.

While recognized national and State parties have their ‘reserved symbols’, registered unrecognized parties must apply for one to field candidates. When free symbols are allocated to unrecognized parties, the Returning Officer allocates the remaining unclaimed symbols to Independents “on the spot”.

On the other hand, after studying the assembly-wise voting pattern in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls the regional and National political parties have started preparing their poll strategies in the run-up to the Assembly polls.

The Bharatiya Janta Party candidates who won both the Lok Sabha seats in the Jammu division had established a lead across 29 out of 36 Assembly segments while the Congress party and the National Conference managed to garner majority votes from the seven assembly segments each in the Jammu division.

In Kashmir valley, the National Conference garnered majority votes from at least 27 Assembly segments, the People's Democratic Party from five, and the Peoples Conference from the lone Assembly segment of Handwara.

Abdul Rashid Sheikh, an Independent candidate from the Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, garnered sympathy votes from at least 14 Assembly segments. Rashid defeated former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah from the seat. It remains to be seen whether the new political formations will emerge in the Assembly polls or the pre-poll alliance partners Congress and the National Conference will take on the BJP and its proxies in the valley.

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