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J&K polls to be held before May: Rawat


New Delhi, Nov 23: The Election Commission has said fresh elections in Jammu and Kashmir would be held within the next six months even as it did not rule out the possibility of holding polls before the Lok Sabha election due next year.

Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat

"The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls must be held on the first occasion before May ... it could be held before parliament elections also," Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat said.

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He said as per the Supreme Court, the outer limit for holding fresh polls after dissolution of a house is six months, that is May, 2019. At the same time, he made it clear that the Commission will decide on poll dates after "considering all aspects."

The CEC further cited the Supreme court's verdict, an outcome of Presidential reference, which said polls will have to be held on the first occasion which means even before six months. The same principle was applied in Telangana where the assembly was dissolved prematurely, he said.

The state Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the assembly last night after People's Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form government along with her arch-rival Omar Abdullah's National Conference (NC) and the Congress. Mufti claimed the support of 56 lawmakers in the 87-member state assembly.

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Shortly after, People's Conference leader Sajad Lone also staked claims to form the government. Lone, who has two lawmakers, said he had the support of the BJP's 25 legislators and "more than 18" others.

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