M A I N   N E W S

CEC to visit J&K soon
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 2
The three-member poll panel headed by Chief Election Commissioner T.S. Krishna Murthy is slated to visit the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir later this month to review the preparations for the Lok Sabha poll to be held in four phases.

As part of the preparatory measure, a team of Election Commission officials are visiting the state tomorrow.

EC sources said Deputy Election Commissioner Noor Mohammed would visit Jammu tomorrow and Srinagar and Ladakh the day after to review the law and order situation and the progress of special identity cards and electoral rolls with senior civil and police officials.

Only Jammu and Kashmir is to have a four-phase poll in the country. The Baramula and Jammu parliamentary constituency would go to the polls on April 20, Srinagar on April 26, Anantnag on May 5, and Ladakh and Udhampur on May 10.

As the country goes to the polls to elect the 14th Lok Sabha, the eyes of the world would once again be focused on Jammu and Kashmir.

After the successful Assembly poll in the state last year, when the international community accoladed the commission for conducting a free and fair poll in Jammu and Kashmir, the pressure is once again on the EC.

Incidentally, former CEC J.M. Lyngdoh was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for the free and fair poll in the state. Even Mr Lyngdoh had stated that the elections were a “high watermark” in his career.

The conduct of a free and fair poll in the state will also put pressure on Hurriyat leaders and other separatist organisations to re-formulate their strategy.

With the initiation of talks with Pakistan, New Delhi has set the ball rolling for the resumption of a composite dialogue process between the two nuclear neighbours.

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