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Srinagar: Why did ECI not take centre's advise on postponement

By Vicky

The centre was apprehensive about holding the by-elections in Srinagar on Sunday which recorded just 7 per cent polling. Home Ministry officials said that it would be better to wait for the panchayat polls and then go ahead with the elections in Srinagar.

Srinagar: Why did ECI not take centre's advise on postponement

The Election Commission of India was however not convinced with the Home Ministry's suggestion and went ahead with the elections. The EC cited a constitutional obligation to hold the polls before April 16. The ECI can be advised, but not directed by the Home Ministry.

The EC relied on a report by the state government which indicated that the panchayat elections could go on as per schedule. The EC felt that if the panchayat polls could be held, then there should be no problem in holding the by-elections in Srinagar.

Home Ministry officials however felt that their advise should have been taken. The ECI had sought the deployment of security forces in large numbers. An average of 100 personnel are deployed per parliamentary constituency. However in the case of Srinagar the number was ten times more. This itself suggested that the EC was expecting big trouble in Srinagar. Moreover the deployment of security forces was worked out with the state police and the centre was not consulted on the same.

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