The J&K’s political parties on Monday called for “simultaneous and early” Assembly and Parliament elections, as the full team of Election Commission of India (ECI) arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to hold deliberations and assess the ground situation.The ECI team, comprising Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Sushil Chandra and Ashok Lavasa, met at least 11 political parties and individuals in Srinagar. It also held discussions with senior officers of the police and the administration “to get a first-hand information on the ground situation” of the State, which witnessed several cycles of both street and militancy-related violence since 2014.“Elections are soon going to be held to uphold the principles of democracy. The ECI desires that the elections should be the most inclusive with absolute neutrality by people involved in organising them” CEC Arora said.The ECI team met the representatives of National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Congress, BJP, CPI (M), Peoples Conference (PC), People Democratic Front (PDF), Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN), Awami Ittihad Party (AIP) etc. in Srinagar and sought their inputs.“Situation in Kashmir is fragile. An elected government is the only way out to bring normalcy. The ECI should not wait to announce dates for holding both Lok Sabha and Assembly polls together,” said NC general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar.PDP leader A. R. Veeri also told the ECI that “prevailing alienation and unpredictable situation can only be handled by an elected government and both the elections should be held simultaneously”. Seconding the demand to hold both the elections together, Congress leader Taj Mohiudin said, “Security agencies should create a conducive atmosphere for polls”. AIP chief Engineer Rashid early these elections were important to allow the local government “to deal with the issues of Article 35A and Article 370”. CPI(M) leader M.Y. Tarigami pointed out that “in absence of an elected government, uncertainty in the State is was deepening day-by-day”. “There is no justification to delay elections in J&K, neither political nor constitutional. The elections dates for both Parliament and Assembly should be announced soon,” said Mr. Tarigami. DPN chief Ghulam Hassan Mir said holding early elections would be a test “whether the ECI was an independent body or was influenced by the Centre”. The BJP said it’s also ready to face the elections. “We expressed our readiness to contest the elections as and when ECI desired it,” said BJP spokesman Altaf Thakur.Meanwhile, the ECI team reviewed “preparedness of various departments of civil and police administration”, besides transportation of EVMs and polling material. The ECI team will visit Jammu on Tuesday and meet political parties there before it leaves for New Delhi to take a final call.J&K first came under the Governor’s rule on June 19, 2018 and under President’s rule on December 19, 2018. The state is without an elected government for around 10 months and the President’s rule will complete its six months in June this year.
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