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Visiting EC team to decide J&K elections schedule

By Ians English

Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu, Oct 8: A visiting Election Commission of India (ECI) team will review the overall situation in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday to decide whether the state assembly elections can be held this year.

The ECI team, headed by Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi arrived in the winter the capital Jammu on Tuesday on a three-day visit and held a meeting with state Chief Electoral Officer Umang Narula in winter capital Jammu.

The team will prepare a report based on that the ECI would take a final call on whether state assembly elections can be held on schedule in November-December or will have to be deferred till April-May 2015.

The publication of final electoral rolls had to be deferred from its scheduled date of Oct 1 to Oct 15 because district electoral officers in Poonch district of Jammu region and those in south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian in the Valley had not been able to complete the work because of flood devastation in these districts.

Zutshi will also meet representatives of different political parties to take into consideration their views on the feasibility of state assembly elections in November-December besides holding video conferencing with district electoral officers in the state.

Sources here said he will also hold a meeting with the state chief secretary, Muhammad Iqbal Khandey, and Director General of Police K. Rajendra Kumar to discuss the impact of the recent floods on electoral logistics.

If the ECI decides to defer state assembly elections to 2015, the state will have to be put under the governor's rule after Jan 19 when the term of the present state assembly ends.

According to the official report, at least 281 people were died and properties to the tune of rupees one lakh thousand crores was lost.

Six hundred thousand people across the state have been directly affected by the flood that hit the state with such unprecedented magnitude after more than a century.


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