Conduct simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls: Political parties to EC

Representatives of almost all political parties sought simultaneous national and assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir as they met an Election Commission (EC) team in Srinagar on Monday, officials said.

The Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora-led team arrived in the state for a two-day visit to review security preparedness for the polls amid an escalation of violence in the state, which has been under the President’s rule since December 19. Assembly elections have to be held within six months of the imposition of the President’s rule while the national polls are due next month.

National Conference leader Ali Mohammad Sagar, whose party has been out of power in the state since 2015, said he led a delegation that met the team and asked the EC to conduct both assembly and Lok Sabha polls together.

People’s Democratic Party leader Abdul Rehman Veeri, whose party led a coalition government in the state with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s help until June 2018, said they asked the EC to hold both elections as soon as possible. BJP spokesman Altaf Thakur said the party’s delegation told the EC team that they were ready for Lok Sabha as well as assembly polls.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami said: “…the people will like to have their own elected government and both Parliament and assembly elections should be held at a time.”

Earlier on Monday, the EC team was briefed about the security situation in Kashmir in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack.