Assembly elections to be held soon in J&K so that democratic process thrives: CEC

Assembly elections to be held soon in J&K so that democratic process thrives: CEC
Assembly elections to be held soon in J&K so that democratic process thrives: CEC

30 pc increase in turnout as compared to 2019 polls
*Highest poll participation in last 35 years

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, May 27: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar today said the active participation of voters in Parliamentary elections in Jammu and Kashmir is a huge positive sign for Assembly elections to be held soon so that the democratic process continues to thrive in the Union Territory.
He said this while conveying the Election Commission of India’s (ECI’s) compliments to the voters of Jammu and Kashmir for huge turnout in Parliamentary elections for five seats of the UT which concluded with sixth phase of polling on May 25.
“This achievement sits on a credible weave of 25 percent increase in number of contesting candidates since 2019. C-vigil complaints showing enhanced citizen involvement and Suvidha Portal displaying 2455 requests for rallies etc, reflecting the steady retaking of the election and campaign space away from hesitation and to fuller participation.
“Compared this outcome of the layered depth of electoral mobilization and participation, as reminiscent of the fame and deft of the legendary Kashmiri artisanal weave. This active participation is a huge positive sign for Assembly elections to be held soon so that the democratic process continues to thrive in the Union Territory,” Kumar said.
An official statement issued by the ECI after conclusion of Parliamentary electoral process in Jammu and Kashmir said the UT witnessed its highest poll participation in last 35 years. The Combined Voter Turnout (VTR) at the Polling Stations for all five Lok Sabha seats was 58.46 percent.

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“This significant participation is a testamount to the robust democratic spirit and civic engagement of the people in the region. The Election Commission led by CEC Rajiv Kumar along with ECs Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu thanked the polling personnel and security officials for peaceful conduct of elections in J&K,” the statement read.
Pointing out that poll participation percentage witnessed 30 points jump from the last general elections in 2019 where it was 19.16 percent, the Commission said the voter turnout of 50.86 percent from the three Lok Sabha seats of the Kashmir valley echoes faith of the people in democratic process.
It said three Parliamentary Constituencies in Kashmir including Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri recorded voter turnout 38.49 percent, 59.1 percent and 54.84 percent respectively which has been highest in last three decades. Two other Lok Sabha seats in the UT including Udhampur and Jammu registered 68.27 and 72.22 percent polling percentage respectively.
“Historic participation in the UT was realized by earnest efforts of the election and security officials who had worked tirelessly to empower the people of Jammu and Kashmir especially the youth to participate in the elections. Many young people have asserted their faith and embraced democracy in a big way,” the Commission said.
It added that another interesting perspective is the electors in the age group of 18-59 years which forms major part of voters in the UT. The high poll percentage in general elections 2024 is reflective of their faith in democracy, which is a positive and heartening development.
The Election Commission said it also enabled Kashmiri migrant voters residing at various relief camps in Delhi, Jammu and Udhampur to also have the option of voting in person at designated special Polling Stations or using postal ballot. Twenty one Polling Stations for them were established at Jammu, four at Delhi and one at Udhampur.
It said Ladakh Parliamentary seat which is now separate Union Territory, also saw an enthusiastic response to the call of democracy with voting turnout of 71.92 percent. Ladakh was part of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Whenever Assembly elections are held in Jammu and Kashmir, it will be the first since the August 2019 abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories with the other being Ladakh which has one Lok Sabha seat and no provision for a Legislative Assembly. Last Assembly elections were held in erstwhile State of J&K in November-December 2014.
Following a delimitation exercise, the number of Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir has gone up from 83 to 90, excluding 24 seats reserved for Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK). Besides, there is provision for reservation of seats for two women, two Kashmiri migrants including one woman and a PoJK refugee.
In December last year, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission to hold Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir by September 30, 2024.