SRINAGAR: A prospective contestant of parliamentary polls has sought conduct of by-polls in Anantnag parliamentary constituency. Hearing his petition on Tuesday the high court on Tuesday directed election commission of India, ministry of home affairs and state government to file response as to why the election has not been conducted in the Anantnag constituency lying unrepresented for more than a year.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who had won the Lok Sabha seat from Anantnag in 2014 resigned in 2015 and subsequently the seat was notified through Election Commission of India for elections in March, 2017.
But after escalation of violent incidents across Kashmir and low turnout during the parliamentary elections for the Srinagar constituency on April 9, the scheduled election for 3- Anantnag was deferred. The election for Anantnag was scheduled for April 12. After deferring, the said election was scheduled to be held on 25 May, 2017.
According to petition, on April 18, delegation of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee and National Conference expressed concern over the deterioration of situation in Kashmir which killed eight people on polling day in Budgam constituency and expressed apprehensions that holding election in Anantnag Constituency will further escalate tensions.
In this backdrop, the election commission asked for ground report from state Administration whether it is viable to hold elections this time or not. In its response Chief Secretary informed the ECI that a number of incidents have taken place where attacks on buildings and polling staff was reported and the state government is of the opinion that the time is not conducive for taking up elections in Anantnag Parliamentary constituency.
After passing of two more months the election commission didn’t hold election in the constituency which led the petitioner Ghulam Mohammad Wani to file a petition challenging the state to conduct parliamentary bye-elections for Anantnag constituency. The petition reads that sizeable population is being denied their basic right of participation in democracy and is denying the petitioner his right to contest in the elections.