Four months after Tasaduq's presser, EC still undecided on Anantnag LS bypoll date

TNN Bureau. Updated: 8/12/2017 2:18:33 AM Front Page

jammu: After Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, CM Mehbooba's brother and Peoples Democratic Party's candidate for the Anantnag parliamentary constituency, appealed to the Election Commission to postpone the bypoll four months ago, the poll penal is yet to decide on dates for the bypoll, citing the security scenario in the restive district of South Kashmir as 'not conducive', as informed by an official of the poll penal.
Earlier on April 9 this year, Tassaduq in a press conference had appealed for postponement of the by-election to Anantnag, three days before the scheduled polls on April 12, in wake of the continued violence in Kashmir. "The present situation in the valley is not right for election. You can't force people to vote and can't force them not to vote," Tassaduq had said, offering to withdraw "if it helps to postpone the elections."
The poll panel had later postponed the bypoll to May 25, citing a poor law-and-order situation and lack of adequate central forces. However, on May 1, the EC cancelled the Anantnag Lok Sabha bypoll, slated for May 25, citing similar problems in the Kashmir Valley.
The Jammu and Kashmir government had then informed the EC that the bypoll needed to be postponed since the security agencies wanted to resume the counter-militancy operations. The government had also said these operations would be necessary in the coming months to restore public order and enable elections to be conducted in a free-and-fair atmosphere after October.
"The apprehension expressed by the Chief Electoral Officer that there may be reluctance on the part of the polling personnel to go to the polling locations, in view of the fear in their minds with regard to their safety and security is also a matter of concern," the May 1 EC order had said.
The seat has been lying unoccupied since July 4, 2016 after PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti resigned as a Lok Sabha member as she took over as the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, following demise of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayed.

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