NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday said it is ready to hold Assembly polls in the centrally-ruled Jammu and Kashmir along with the upcoming Lok Sabha polls if the Election Commission so desires.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also said in the Rajya Sabha that it is ready to accept any suggestion from any party for restoring peace in the militancy-hit state.
He was replying to a debate on a statutory resolution for promulgation of President's Rule in the state where the Assembly was dissolved on November 21.
The resolution, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, was later approved by the House, endorsing the decision taken on December 20.
Singh said restoration of peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir is linked to the integrity of the country and the government is working in this direction.
Regarding the timing of the Assembly elections, he said conducting of polls is the responsibility of the Election Commission and not that of the government.
"From our side, there is no objection (to holding of elections). Whatsoever number of forces the Election Commission wants, we are ready to give," the Home Minister said.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad specifically asked whether the government would, on its own, recommend to the Election Commission to hold the Assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha polls which are due in a few months.
In his response, Singh said, "if the Election Commission wants, we have no objection".
The Home Minister said he keeps asking senior leaders of the state, including Azad, as to what should be done to restore peace in the militancy-hit state.
"For restoring peace in Jammu and Kashmir, I am ready to accept all suggestions," he said.
"Tell me one, two, three, four, five suggestions, we are ready to implement," he told the members.
He said it is not that the government wants the current situation to continue in Jammu and Kashmir.
"To say that we are responsible for the current situation will not be fair," the minister said. (ANI)