Keeping in view security arrangements required for the State assembly polls, the Governor's administration has asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) not to club the State assembly polls with the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Sources in the administration told Rising Kashmir that the State administration had told the ECI that conducting polls simultaneously would be difficult taking into consideration the required security arrangements.
Sources said the State administration also pointed out that polls in the State had been previously held in multiple phases due to the “violence threat” associated with the polling process.
"The State administration has conveyed to ECI that J&K requires almost equal number of paramilitary force companies as is required in the dozen odd states in India for Lok Sabha polls," an official privy to the development said. “The availability of the number of paramilitary forces’ companies at the same time is unlikely.”
The official said during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, New Delhi could not spare a few paramilitary companies for Indian Premier League which was being conducted around the same time.
“So, it will be difficult for them to have the requisite number for J&K,” he said.
The State administration in its deliberations with ECI also argued that the State assembly polls and Lok Sabha polls had never been held together since 1967 even though in 1977, 1996, and 2014 the State’s Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha polls were held in the same year but with a gap of several months in between.
The State government's reluctance stems from the violent incidents that marred the 2017 Srinagar parliament by-polls and the subsequent cancellation of the Anantnag parliament seat by-polls, the sources said.
They said that the State administration told the ECI that in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, 1250 paramilitary forces’ companies were deployed across the country while in the Legislative Assembly polls later that year, 500 odd companies were deployed in the State alone.
In the recently-conducted Urban Local Bodies and Panchayat polls, some 600 odd paramilitary forces’ companies were deployed in addition to the existing police and other government forces.
The sources said the State’s Home department had also vetted inhibitions post Lethpora Fidayeen attack as setting up of the transport design system for huge number of paramilitary forces personnel would be difficult in such a short span of time.
“The Home department is currently working on a robust transport system for convoys of the existing government forces. Additional forces’ convoys mean devolving new tactics but Lok Sabha polls are just months away,” an official in the Home department said.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh last month told the Parliament that the ministry was ready to support ECI if they club the J&K Legislative Assembly and parliament elections together.
The State has been under the President's rule since December 20 last year.
Earlier, the State witnessed a six-month spell of Governor's rule after the fall of PDP-BJP government in June last year.