J&K poll process: Expedite restoration of electoral democracy - The Tribune India

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J&K poll process

Expedite restoration of electoral democracy

J&K poll process

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



WITH the Centre telling the Supreme Court that elections can be held in Jammu and Kashmir ‘anytime now’, there is reason enough to hope that the state-turned-UT will finally witness the restoration of electoral democracy. Asserting that it is ready to conduct the elections, the Central Government has put the onus on the Election Commission of India and the UT election panel to decide which poll will take place first. In the Centre’s scheme of things, J&K elections will have three tiers — panchayats, municipal bodies and the legislative Assembly.

Since the revision of the voters’ list is set to be completed in a month or so, it is expected that at least one election would be held before the year-end — if all goes well. Going by the Centre’s contention that terror-related incidents have gone down by 45 per cent since 2018 and instances of infiltration have dropped by 90 per cent, expediting the poll process is the need of the hour. At the same time, the Central Government and the UT administration need to pre-empt attempts to disrupt the electoral exercise. Forces inimical to peace and stability in J&K will inevitably resort to violence and propaganda in the coming months. Security and surveillance must be beefed up in order to instil confidence in the voters.

Once the elections are held in a free, fair and peaceful manner, the restoration of statehood ought to be the next logical step. Though the Centre has repeatedly stated that J&K’s UT status is a temporary measure, it has stopped short of specifying a time frame for undoing the downgrading that was done four years ago. J&K last witnessed Assembly elections in 2014. Now, a golden opportunity has arrived to begin a new chapter in the troubled region. It should not be frittered away. 

#Democracy #Jammu #Kashmir #Supreme Court


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