Special Observers Noor Mohammad, Vinod Zutshi and A.S.Gill appointed by the Election Commission for assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, met with the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra on Tuesday.
The election commission said, “The Commission will be regularly and on real-time basis monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and will also be taking inputs from all necessary quarters and decision regarding holding Legislative Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be taken soon.”
DEC-in-charge of the State Sandeep Saxena briefed the observers about the preparedness of election in the state and gave other details as well. The Commission discussed with them about their roles and responsibilities. The three Central Observers would be visiting the state and to make a real-time assessment of the situation by meeting political parties, district and state authorities and other stakeholders.
Election Commission on Sunday appointed three former civil servants Amarjit Singh Gill (IPS 1972 Batch, Former DG, CRPF), Noor Mohammad (IAS 1977), and Vinod Zutshi (IAS 1982) as special observers for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said, “The commission has also decided for more effective monitoring to appoint three special observers of Jammu and Kashmir. The commission will be regularly and on real-time basis monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and continue to take inputs from all necessary quarters and decision regarding holding the election for legislative assembly will be taken soon.”
Arora on Sunday announced that there will be no simultaneous elections for Jammu and Kashmir state assembly owing to the recent incident of violence, among other factors.
He said, “The commission has been continuously accessing the prevailing condition in the state. Based on input, the constraint of availability of central forces and other logistics, the requirement of forces for the security of candidates in wake of recent violence and keeping other challenges in mind EC has decided at this stage to announce only the schedule of Parliament election in Jammu and Kashmir.”
“The commission has conducted several rounds of meeting with state administration as well as MHA secretary. In the totality of these views, the commission has decided at this stage to announce only the schedule of the parliament election,” he added.
While responding to a question about the assembly elections never being delayed since the mid-1990s due to security concerns in the valley, the CEC said, “Central forces are definitely a big issue and one cannot disregard the recent developments. The commission ultimately doesn’t capitulate to anybody and at the same time commission cannot be non-cognizant of the situations on the ground.”
“Since 1996 and 1997, in many states now, the requirement of Central Forces has not decreased in any state. The requirement has not remained static,” he added.
Arora also outlined the commission’s measure of appointing the three observers to monitor the situation and said that the commission will try and conduct elections “as soon as the ground situation allows.”
“On an average in an assembly constituency, even if we take it to be 8 to 10 candidates multiplied by 86 assembly constituencies. This is the additional quantum required for the protection. The candidates of the Panchayat and municipal elections, much after the elections are over, are staying in the state guest houses and paid over by the government.”