J&K Assembly polls imminent in September, end of wait of 10 years

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 28, 2024 IST

Arun Joshi

A decade-long wait for Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir will end by September-end this year , sending a powerful message to the international community that the   issue of Kashmir has been settled once and for all. The credit line has been traced to the abrogation of Article 370 and the positive change  seen in high voter turnout in Lok Sabha polls , breaking 35-year-old records  is clear to all the stake holders.

The Election Commission of India led by Chief Election Commissioner  Rajiv Kumar has confirmed that there would be no further delay  in holding the Assembly polls that were being awaited for long . Last Assembly polls were held in 2014  when J&K was a state and the Assembly had a tenure of six years. But the life of the Assembly was cut short in  November 2018   when the then Governor Satya Pal Malik had dissolved it . Since then  elections have been hanging fire.

Having seen the voting pattern in the Lok Sabha elections , particularly in the Kashmir Valley’s three seats , Chief Election Commissioner has noted  in a poetic terms , and underlined that the “ active participation of ( voters and political parties) is a huge positive for Assembly elections to be held soon so that democratic process continues to thrive in the Union Territory ( of J&K)

Though the election commission did not define soon, but it is widely understood   and as emphasized by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi  and Home Minister Amit Shah that these polls will be held by September this year as directed by the Supreme Court of India , which while upholding legality and constitutionality of the abrogation of Article 370 , had directed the Election Commission to hold the Assembly polls by September 30, 2024 . The high voting percentage in  three Lok Sabha seats in the Valley has encouraged the Government and ECI to hold the polls as wide participation gives credibility to the electoral exercise. The fear that perceived hurt feelings of Kashmiri Muslims after the scrapping of two crucial articles – 370 and 35-A that gave a sense of unique identity to the people of J&K  would impact their urge to vote., has been removed –  more than 50 per cent of voters took o polling booths to vote – an unprecedented phenomenon of sorts .. Now , the GOI is confident that the polling percentage would be a  source of peddling the narrative that Kashmir has no quarrel with Indian democracy and the idea of India .

That the Assembly polls will be held after 10 years is a first of its sorts in J&K . The last  time there was gap of nine years  between 1987 and 1996. . The Assembly was dissolved on February 19, 1990 and the polls were held in September 1996.  The alleged rigging in 1987 gave birth to armed conflict in Kashmir which   continued with all its intensity until 2019 , and now the 2024 Assembly polls are expected to reverse the whole trend . Terrorism has already been tamed , now it is a game of winning hearts and minds of the people .

For Government of India , it is  a national necessity to reinforce that all its intents in scrapping the special status and privileges  under Article 370 and 35 A were  good . Lok Sabha polls  were at national level , but it has spotlighted the voting patterns in Kashmir as it knows that its message has international resonance .  All the doubters will be silenced by the Assembly polls . That is the crux of the statements made by the country’s leadership and Election Commission of India . Practically speaking  the whole thing will be clear in next 100 days .

Arun Joshi is author of “Eyewitness Kashmir; Teetering on Nuclear War and senior journalist based in Jammu and Kashmir, writes on South Asian affairs)

Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.


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