SRI NAGAR: The Election Commission on Tuesday conceded that holding polls in Jammu and Kashmir was a challenging job and revealed that political parties in the state favoured simultaneous Assembly and parliamentary polls.
Addressing a Press conference in Jammu, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said the EC team had a meeting with representatives of political parties, administration, police and central security agencies during its two-day visit to the state.
He disclosed all political parties voiced the demand for holding state polls along with the Lok Sabha elections.
“The parties said the turnout in panchayat and urban local bodies elections and the very peaceful conduct of the polls demonstrate that all the problems notwithstanding, the state wishes to have a democratically elected government as early as possible,” Arora said.
The parties, however, demanded adequate security for voters and candidates.
“Some parties wanted adequate security for ex-ministers even after conduct of polls,” he said. He said the EC would announce its decision on holding simultaneous polls after taking into consideration all suggestions.
Asked if the situation was conducive for polls in the wake of the Pulwama attack, the CEC said, “During our meeting with police and civil officers, we have seen best presentations by young officers. None of them seem to be intimated. They know what the situation is. They are not overawed by it nor intimated by it.”
Arora admitted that holding polls in J&K was more challenging not because of weather and topography, but because of the prevailing situation.
He, however, said the EC would ensure free and fair elections.
Asked why the EC did not hold bypoll for Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, Arora said the decision was based on “conscious report of administration giving detailed reasons”.