Let Election Commission decide on Jammu and Kashmir polls: PM

By Manish Chand, IANS,

On Board Air India One : The government has left it to the Election Commission of India to decide the dates for elections in troubled Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday.

Support TwoCircles

“It’s for the Election Commission to decide,” Manmohan Singh told reporters en route to New York.

“Is there any right time to hold elections?” he said in a light-hearted tone when asked whether the time was right for holding the elections in the state, presently under Governor’s rule after the state assembly was dissolved July 11.

The elections to the Jammu and Kashmir assembly are due in November. A land row leading to prolonged protests in the state and a revival of separatist feeling among some sections in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley had sparked off speculations about the indefinite delay in holding the polls.

The land row also led to a political crisis in the state after chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned following withdrawal of support by coalition partner Peoples Democratic Party.

After defusing the situation with the Jammu land accord, the government is banking on early elections to restore peace and stability in the state.