J&K Lt. Guv snubbed for ‘interference’ in polls

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Tuesday snubbed J&K Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu for declaring that the J&K polls will be held after delimitation, asserting that timing of the elections, etc. is its ‘sole remit’ and the authorities should refrain from making such statements.

In a statement, it said such statements "virtually tantamount to interfering with the Constitutional mandate of the Election Commission."

It was referring to a report appearing in The Tribune on Tuesday quoting Murmu's declaration of the J&K polls. It said similar statements of the LG were earlier reported by The Hindu dated 18.11.2019, News18 dated 14.11.2019, Hindustan Times dated 26.6.2020 and Economic Times (ePaper) dated 28.7.2020.

"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," the statement said. It explained the long drawn process that the EC has to go through before declaring the poll schedule.

"Before deciding the timing, the Commission takes into consideration all the relevant factors including topography, weather, 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. All this is done after meticulous homework by the senior officials of the Commission and a detailed assessment in due consultation with concerned authorities.

The Commission itself schedules a visit to the concerned State wherever required and holds extensive consultations with all the stakeholders," the statement added.

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