Seven-phased polls for Jammu and Kashmir

Seven-phased polls for Jammu and Kashmir

New Delhi: Resolving differences within the three-member body, the Election Commission today announced a seven-phased election in Jammu and Kashmir beginning 17 November to 24 December, saying it has taken a “risk" on the issue of participation of political parties in the exercise.

Announcing the poll schedule, chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami said that the snow-bound Leh and Kargil regions would go polls in the initial two phases.

Against the backdrop of parties and outfits in the Kashmir Valley expressing themselves against polls at this juncture, the CEC said the Commission has taken a “risk".

This was in apparent reference to political parties in Kashmir like the PDP which said no to polls and another mainstream party, National Conference which gave its nod after having voiced initial reservation.

On the issue of lack of consensus among the political parties, he said “first you need to ask if political parties are ready. We are not conducting election in a vacuum. To start with there were one no, one yes and one yes-no. After that one no became one yes. So we have two yes and we have taken a risk".

To another question whether there was a difference of opinion among the three Commission members on holding polls to the assembly with 87 seats, the CEC said “various issues need to be considered. So each one presents his views which he considers the best. There are three election commissioners and at least there may be three opinions".