Srinagar: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday announced April 9 and April 12 as dates for by-polls for Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha seats, respectively.
The ECI stated that the last date for filing nominations for the Srinagar seat is March 21 and the scrutiny of nomination papers will be held on March 22. Candidates can withdraw till March 24. The election will be held on April 9.
For Anantnag, last date for filing nomination papers is March 24 and scrutiny of nomination papers will be held on March 27. Last date for candidates to withdraw from the election is March 29. The polling will be held on April 12.
The counting of votes for both the seats will be done on April 15, the election commission stated.
In June 2016, the Anantnag constituency fell vacant following the resignation of Mehbooba Mufti as a Member of Parliament. The seat was earlier held by her late father and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
The Srinagar constituency seat fell vacant following the resignation of one of the founding members of the PDP, Tariq Hameed Qarra, in September last year. The resignation came when the summer uprising was at its peak.
Karra claimed that he resigned from the seat as a mark of protest against the excesses being committed by government forces in quelling widespread protests after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.
The resignation was accepted by the Lok Sabha secretariat in November last year. Later, Karra joined the Congress party in New Delhi, a move he claimed was necessitated because of the PDP’s coalition with the BJP in the state that was implementing the “RSS agenda”.
The parliamentary by-elections hold significance in the aftermath of the 2016 Kashmir uprising which witnessed more than 80 civilians killings and left thousands of injured, of whom hundreds lost their one or both eyes due to pellets fired by government forces. The by-elections should have been held earlier but were deferred because the government claimed that the law and order situation was not conducive for holding elections.
Political observers are now saying that the elections will be difficult to predict.
“It seems that the situation is still not conducive,” political science professor Noor Ahmad Baba said. “I think it won’t be easy going for the contesting parties. People are not enthusiastic about participating in elections.”
“Earlier as well, elections were held in the backdrop of civil unrest. This time it seems that people will not come out as they did in the past elections. Nobody can predict it, though,” Baba said.