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Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections likely by year-end: Rajnath Singh

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Srinagar, Jun 17: Assembly elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir "by this year-end", hinted Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday.

Rajnath Singh

Addressing a function here, Singh, who is on a two-day visit to the Union Territory, said the delimitation exercise was completed recently following which the number of seats has increased to 90 with Kashmir having 47 seats and Jammu 43.

"By this year-end, there is a possibility that assembly elections can be held in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

"Recently, the delimitation exercise concluded in J&K. Now, Jammu will have 43 seats & Kashmir will have 47 seats in Vidhan Sabha. There's a strong possibility that the electoral process will commence by the end of this year in J&K," said Rajnath.

The Election Commission (EC) which completed the delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has initiated the revision of electoral rolls in the Union Territories.

With this the EC has signalled the commencement of the political process in Jammu and Kashmir.

Reportedly, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey carried out a review and directed the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer to map the redrawn assembly constituencies.

During the revision exercise, citizens would be given opportunities to enrol, 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.

According to the orders of the Delimitation Commission, set up under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act of 2019, the Union Territory will have 90 assembly constituencies -- 43 in the Jammu division and 47 in Kashmir -- with nine of them being reserved for the Scheduled Tribes.
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.

The three-member delimitation panel was headed by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, a retired judge of the Supreme Court. Then chief election commissioner Sushil Chandra (now retired) and Jammu and Kashmir Election Commissioner K K Sharma were its two ex-officio members.

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.

In the last assembly election (2014), BJP won 25 out of 37 assembly seats in Jammu region, five seats were bagged by Congress and two major parties of Kashmir Valley, ie J&K People's Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) had got three seats each. One seat went to the independent candidate.

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