EC puts off bypoll to Anatnag Assembly seat

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Thursday announced postponement of bypoll to the prestigious Anantnag assembly seat after the Jammu and Kashmir government said the law and order situation in the district was “not conducive”.

The Commission also postponed bypoll for Ghoradongari assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh due to Simhastha Mahakumbh beginning from April 22 as police personnel will be deployed to manage nearly five crore people expected to participate in the month-long religious congregation.

In an official release, the Commission said the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir B R Sharma has apprised it that the law and order situation of Anantnag district “due to certain recent incidents is not conducive at the moment for the holding bye-election”.

He requested the Commission to postpone the bye-election from Anantnag Assembly constituency for the present, it said.

Located in South Kashmir, Anantnag seat fell vacant after the death of the then state Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed on January 7.

The EC had announced bypoll to this seat along with eight other Assembly seats on May 16.

For the Ghoradongari (ST), the Madhya Pradesh government has sought postponement of polls by 10 days because of the religious gathering.

The state government informed the Commission that Simhastha Mahakumbh is due to begin on April 22 and would continue for one month.

“During this Mahakumbh, over five crore pilgrims are expected to visit Ujjain and other holy places in the state, for which huge security and logistical arrangements have been undertaken, involving shifting of police forces from various districts to the Mahakumbh areas.

“Besides this religious congregation, an International Philosophic Convention is also being organised from May12 to 14 at Ujjain District which will be attended by various VVIPs and foreign delegates will be participating.

“Therefore, the entire state administration, including police forces, would be focusing on the smooth conduct of Simhastha Mahakumbh, particularly on logistical and security issues, during the Simhastha period,” it said.

The state government has requested the EC to postpone the polling and counting by about 10 days for the bye-election, it said.

Therefore, the EC said, a decision has been taken to postpone the two by-elections for the present and hereby rescinds its earlier order, it said, adding fresh dates will be announced later.

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