Srinagar: The by poll for Anantnag constituency, scheduled on April 12, will now be held on May 25, chief electoral officer J&K Shantmanu said.
Shantmanu said the date for repoll in the 38 polling booths of Srinagar constituency, where polling was disrupted or couldn’t be held because of protests, will be announced in a day or two.
The decision to defer by poll came in the wake of the lowest-ever (7.14%) turnout in Srinagar constituency and the killing of eight people, who were protesting against the elections.
Earlier in the day, ruling party’s candidate Tasaduq Mufti appealed to the Election Commission of India to postpone polling in the Anantnag.
Expressing concerns over the prevailing situation, Tasaduq, who is the brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, said, “The current situation is not right for election in the valley. Eight civilians lost lives yesterday. You can’t force people to vote and can’t force them not to vote.”
Tasaduq added that if his withdrawal helps the ECI in postponing the elections, he will do that.
Reacting to Tasaduq’s appeal, leader of the opposition Omar Abdullah said the candidate’s remarks are signs of the failure of the government led by Tasaduq’s sister.
“Tassaduq’s statement is an indictment of his sister @MehboobaMufti’s government & its abject failure. How can the BJP not see this?” Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.
The former chief minister pointed out that if the ECI decides to accept his demand, the ruling party should resign from the government.
“EC is well within its powers to postpone or countermand Anantnag election but if so @MehboobaMufti must resign & Governor should take charge,” he wrote.
The ECI had sought a detailed report from Shantmanu about Srinagar parliamentary polls and his views on holding polls in Anantnag.
Top government sources in the civil secretariat told Kashmir Reader that chief secretary BR Sharma in his earlier meeting with ECI had opined that situation was not conducive for polls.
During the day, Shantmanu had convened an all-party meeting on the issue of holding elections in Anantnag constituency.
The meeting was attended by representatives of PDP, NC, Congress, BJP and several state parties and independents. The CEO held threadbare discussions on re-poll at various polling stations where polling was affected.