Assembly elections in J&K likely by year-end, says Rajnath Singh
Jammu: In the first indication of a timeline for Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir since it was downgraded to a Union Territory, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said there is a possibility of holding the polls "by this year-end".
Addressing a function here to celebrate the 200th year of the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh, the defence minister said the delimitation exercise has been completed following which the number of seats has gone up to 90 with Kashmir having 47 seats and Jammu 43.
"It appears to me that the electoral exercise may begin by the end of the current year. There are strong possibilities," he said.
The indication of a timeline comes two days after the Election Commission initiated the revision of electoral rolls in the union territory and prepare the draft rolls by August 31.
During the revision exercise, citizens would be given opportunities to enroll, delete and change their particulars in the electoral rolls.
Last month, the Central government issued a notification saying the orders of the Delimitation Commission which redrew electoral constituencies and provided six additional Assembly seats to the Jammu division and one to Kashmir would come into effect from May 20.
The erstwhile state had 87 seats — 46 in Kashmir, 37 in Jammu and four in Ladakh. During its reorganisation, Ladakh was declared a separate union territory without a legislature. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a meeting with Jammu and Kashmir leaders on June 24 last year, had said the ongoing delimitation exercise has to happen quickly so that polls can be held to install an elected government that gives strength to its development trajectory.