Anantnag bypoll: The Election Commission wanted 70,000 personnel to be deployed, govt said can send only 30,000.
The Election Commission has cancelled the bye-election to Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, scheduled to take place on May 25, news agency PTI has reported. The decision comes amid the on-going violence in Jammu and Kashmir, making the situation unfeasible to hold elections.
The byelection to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat was necessitated following the resignation of Lok Sabha MP Mehbooba Mufti last year to take over as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. In this election, her brother Mufti Tassaduq Hussain will be looking to retain the seat.
Earlier this month, the Election Commission had written to the Ministry of Home Affairs asking that 75,000 personnel be deployed to ensure the safety of those who step out to vote as well as to ensure there’s no violence at polling booths in the constituency.
The government, in its reply, has said it would be able to deploy only 30,000 personnel or 300 companies of paramilitary forces. The demand, say officials, seemed unprecedented as in the recently concluded elections to five states, the EC had sought 700 companies or 70,000 personnel. This time they wanted the same amount for just one constituency.
MHA officials had asked the EC to postpone the election as it was not conducive to hold polls. While they said they could guarantee safety to polling stations, they could not ensure voter turnout.
Polling to the Anantnag constituency had already been postponed once. Voting was scheduled for April 12, which was the postponed to May 25. The Election Commission is yet to come out with a new date. In Srinangar, where polling was held on April 9 amid massive violence, the voter percentage was a mere seven per cent.