EC calls high-level meeting on J&K Assembly elections on July 10

CEO, all 20 DCs to join virtually
*SSR activities to be reviewed

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, July 5: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has called a virtual meeting of all 20 Deputy Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir on July 10 to review various pre-Assembly election related issues including ongoing Special Summary Revision (SSR) of electoral rolls which are due to be published on August 20.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) PK Pole and senior officials will be present in the meeting along with 20 Deputy Commissioners who have been designated as District Electoral Officers (DEOs) which is scheduled to be held between 2 PM to 3 PM.
The Assembly elections are scheduled in Jammu and Kashmir before September 30 as per the Supreme Court direction of December 11, 2023.
There have been reports that the Election Commission could also undertake a visit to all four election-bound States/UT including Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
“The Election Commission’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir will be decisive as it has to take security situation besides the reports of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and UT administration into consideration before taking a call on conduct of the Assembly elections,’’ the officials said.
They said the rationalization/rearrangement of Polling Stations in the Union Territory is expected to come up for a review at the Election Commission meeting. Number of Polling Stations to be added, shifted or undergo a change of nomenclature are also expected to be taken up.

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Control Tables Updation status for all Assembly constituencies in the district, health of electoral rolls, removal of discrepancies in the rolls, EPIC with primary emphasis on improvement of image quality and readiness for preparation of integrated draft roll with reference to July 1, 2024 as the qualifying date will also figure in the meeting.
Other issues which could be taken up at the meeting include status of house to house verification through Booth Level Officers (BLOs) including number of households to be verified, already verified and timeline for completion of remaining households.
As per the schedule released by the Election Commission, the final electoral rolls will be published on August 20 i.e. a day after the culmination of 52-day long annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas. The Supreme Court of India while delivering its verdict in favour of abrogation of Article 370 on December 11, 2023, had directed the Election Commission to hold Assembly elections in  J&K before September 30, 2024.
The pre-revision activities are being carried out between June 25 to July 24 while Integrated draft electoral rolls will be published on July 25. Claims and objections can be filed between July 25 to August 9. Claims and objections will be disposed on August 19 and final electoral rolls will be published on August 20.
No election has been held to the 90-member Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir after it became the Union Territory on August 5, 2019 when special status of erstwhile State was abrogated and Ladakh, a division of the then State, was also carved out as separate UT.
Besides 90 seats where elections are to be held including 47 in Kashmir division and 43 in Jammu division, there is a provision for nomination of five MLAs including two women, two Kashmiri migrants, one of them a woman, and one Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) refugee.
Other than this, 24 Assembly seats are reserved for PoJK which is in illegal occupation of Pakistan.
Enthused by the voter participation in  Jammu and Kashmir in Lok Sabha polls, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar had stated that the poll panel will “very soon” initiate the process of holding Assembly polls in the Union Territory.

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