NEW DELHI: The Election Commission (EC) on Saturday announced the schedule for five-phase Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand, besides bypolls to three Assembly constituencies in Delhi.
Announcing the schedule, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said polling in Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir will take place on November 25, December 2, 9, 14 and 20 and counting of votes on December 23. Bypolls to three Assembly seats in Delhi will be held on November 25. Sampath said the Model Code of Conduct will come in to force with immediate effect.
Notwithstanding objections from the ruling National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir, Sampath said the current six-year term of the Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir comes to an end on January 16 and the recent calamity will not have any big impact on the polls.
To a query, Sampath said, “Except for one political party, most of the parties in Jammu and Kashmir were in favour of holding elections on time. They said there is no reason, no justification for delaying the polls. The Commission’s mandate is to hold the elections on time.”
On the Delhi bypolls, Sampath said, “For Delhi, we have come to the end of the road. We were awaiting developments in the Supreme Court. Now it is time for bypolls.” However, in case the Supreme Court or the Delhi Lt Governor decide to dissolve the Assembly, the EC notification for bypolls would be withdrawn, sources said.
The three seats for the 70-member Delhi Assembly fell vacant in May after sitting BJP MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha.
The terms of the 81-seat Jharkhand and 87-seat Jammu and Kashmir legislative assemblies are due to end on January 3, 2015, and January 19, 2015, respectively.