MHA, EC spar over J&K bypoll
The holding of the Srinagar Lok Sabha bypoll, which saw large-scale violence on Sunday, led to a war of words between the Election Commission and the Home Ministry, which suggested its advice that atmosphere was not conducive for the polls was "ignored".
The Election Commission hit back saying it is not bound to consult the central government before holding any election.
The by-poll on Sunday saw large-scale violence resulting in at least eight deaths.
Immediately after the announcement of schedule for the by-elections on March 10, the Home Ministry had sent a strongly worded letter to the Commission saying there was no prior consultation with it regarding the by-polls in Srinagar and Anantnag constituencies.
The Home Ministry had advised that polling should be delayed and preferably held after panchayat elections are conducted in the next few months.
However, the Election Commission ignored the Home Ministry's advice and went ahead, sources in the ministry said on Monday.
While polling in Srinagar was held on Sunday, by-election in Anantnag will be held on Wednesday.
Later, the Commission sought to reject the claims of the MHA, saying it was its constitutional obligation to hold the by-poll for Srinagar parliamentary constituency before April 16.
"State government was consulted on the subject as it is responsible for law and order and security issues. MHA is only responsible to provide central paramilitary forces. ECI is not bound to consult MHA before holding any elections," an EC source said.
The source said the state government had apprised the Commission that the preparation for free, fair and peaceful elections are being made and a comprehensive deployment plan was also worked out by Jammu and Kashmir police.