Political parties favour timely elections

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Oct 8: A high level team of Election Commission of India led by Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi today reviewed election preparedness in Jammu region in a video conference with all District Election Officers (DEOs), who happened to be the Deputy Commissioners, and took view point of political parties in separate meetings with them.
After the review, Zutshi, who had reached here yesterday and reviewed preparations for Assembly elections with Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Umang Narula and other officers of the Election Department, left for Srinagar this afternoon and will hold video conferencing with Kashmir and Ladakh DEOs and meet political parties including NC, PDP, Congress, CPM etc there to take their view point before returning to New Delhi.
Zutshi said he will submit his report to Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath and full Election Commission then decide on timing of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
The elections were due in November-December this year as term of the Assembly expires on January 19. However, the EC was assessing situation post-heavy floods in Jammu and Kashmir as to whether the elections can be held in November-December or had to be deferred to April-May in view on ongoing relief and rehabilitation measures in the flood affected areas.
Sources said Zutshi along with Narula spoke to all DEOs of Jammu region through video conferencing and took stock of election preparedness by them. He will hold similar review meeting with DEOs of Kashmir and Ladakh through video conferencing in Srinagar tomorrow.
Meanwhile, representatives of different political parties, who met with the visiting team of the ECI today favoured timely Assembly elections in the State.
Interestingly Congress, which is junior partner in the coalition Government headed by National Conference, has also supported Assembly elections in time.
“We will not oppose holding of Assembly election in time”, Janak Raj Gupta, Congress leader told the media persons. Janak Raj Gupta along with Hari Singh met with Zutshi as representatives of Congress party.
“We are of the opinion that relief operations should be go side by side along with polling process”, Gupta said and mentioned that former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad has already made Congress’s stand clear on this issue.
Hari Singh, vice president of the PCC also endorsed the same stand.
Delegation of BJP led by former Mayor Kavinder Gupta and Bali Bhagat (both general secretaries of the party) met with the Deputy Election Commissioner. During their interaction with the Deputy Election Commissioner, BJP leaders said that their party was ready to face election at any time. They also supported that elections must be conducted in time to form a democratic elected Government in the State.
A delegation of BSP comprised Tulsi Dass Langeh and Rakesh Wazir strongly demanded that elections should be held on time. They opposed any move to postpone the elections.
Similarly delegation of JKNPP under the leadership of former Minister, Harshdev Singh and comprising Yashpal Kundal and Abhinav Verma met Zutshi. The delegation also supported that elections should be held on time.
Deputy Election Commissioner, in an informal chat with media persons, said that he held meeting with officers as well as representatives of the political parties here today. “I am going to  Srinagar today where similar exercise would be done”, he said and added that final decision on holding elections in J&K would be taken by Chief Election Commissioner himself.
“I have been deputed by the Chief Election Commissioner to get grass root level feedback”, he said and mentioned that he would submit his report to the Chief Election Commissioner for taking final decision.
Our Srinagar correspondent adds:- A team of Election Commission of India (ECI) headed by Deputy Election Commissioner, Vinod Zutshi, today arrived in Srinagar to discuss the election preparedness post floods with the officials and the political parties before the ECI takes a final decision on holding of elections in the State which are due by December this year.
The ECI will take final decision on holding of elections that are due in November-December as floods caused havoc in the State killing over 280 people and destroying property and causing business losses to the tune of over Rupees 1 lakh crore.
The ECI team met Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Rohit Kansal and Inspector General of Police, Kashmir range, Abdul Gani Mir. The team is meeting with the Chief Secretary, Mohammad Iqbal Khanday, Director General of Police, K Rajendra, Security agencies and political parties.
The ECI team is scheduled to a hold video conferencing with Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Umang Narula ,other senior officers of the State Election Department and District Electoral Officers (DEOs’) to discuss with them the preparedness for the Assembly elections. The CEO and District Election Officers (DEOs’) are likely to brief the ECI on the post flood situation in the State and the possibility of holding elections.
The Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi today sent invitations to all mainstream political parties for attending a meeting on poll preparedness tomorrow at 5,00 p.m. at SKICC Srinagar.


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