ECI objects to L-G Murmu’s remarks on elections in J&K

Taking objections to the suggestions made by Jammu & Kashmir Lieutenant Governor (LG) GC Murmu indicating that assembly polls in the Union Territory (UT) could be held after the delimitation exercise is completed, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday said such statements “virtually tantamount to interfering with its Constitutional mandate”.

In a statement issued today by the official spokesperson of the poll panel, the Commission said: “It would be proper for authorities other than the Election Commission to refrain from making such statements which virtually tantamount to interfering with the Constitutional mandate of Election Commission.”

Also read: J&K polls after delimitation: L-G

Taking note of the media reports, especially mentioning about the interview published in The Tribune’s Tuesday’s edition, which reads “J&K polls after delimitation”, the EC said: “The Election Commission takes exception to such statements and would like to state that in the Constitutional scheme of things, the timings etc. of elections is the sole remit of Election Commission of India.”

Before deciding the timing of any election, the poll panel said it “takes into consideration all the relevant factors including topography, weather and sensitivities, arising out of regional and local festivities in the area(s), where the election is to take place”.

“For example, in the current times, COVID-19 has introduced a new dynamic, which has to be and shall be taken into consideration at the due time. In the instant case, the outcome of delimitation is also germane to the decision. Similarly, availability of central forces and railway coaches, etc. for the transportation of CPFs are important factors,” the statement read.

All this was done after meticulous homework by the senior officials of the Commission and a detailed assessment in due consultation with concerned authorities, it said, adding that the Commission “itself schedules a visit to the concerned State wherever required and holds extensive consultations with all the stakeholders” before announcing the poll schedule.