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Election Commission Cancels Anantnag LS Bypoll as Centre Refuses Extra Security

The Election Commission has cancelled bypolls to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat saying the situation was not “feasible” to hold elections.

Subhajit Sengupta, ArunimaSubhajitSG

Updated:May 2, 2017, 11:39 AM IST

New Delhi: The Election Commission has cancelled bypolls to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat saying the situation was not “feasible” to hold elections.

The midnight notification was issued by the poll panel after the Home Ministry turned down a request by the commission for additional security forces in militancy-hit Anantnag. The Home Ministry said it could spare 30,000 personnel.

The 10-page order said said "in view of the prevailing ground situation and non-availability of sufficient security forces, the Commission is of the considered view that peaceful, free and fair poll is not feasible on May 25, as scheduled, though some political parties have asked for the same." The EC said it had also considered postponing the polls to another date but it was not a feasible option.

The bypoll was necessitated following the resignation of Mehbooba Mufti in July last when she became the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. The parliamentary seat was to go to polls on April 12 which were postponed due to violence during the April 9 polling for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat in which eight people were killed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh will meet Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra on Tuesday evening to discuss the security situation in the state.

ALSO READ | Kashmir Chaos Springs From 2014 Polls, Alliance Hasn't Worked: Ex-Raw Chief

A home ministry official told PTI that the EC had been told that around 300 companies of paramilitary personnel could be arranged for deployment during the bypoll. A company of paramilitary comprises around 100 personnel.

Last week, the EC had asked the home ministry that 740 companies of paramilitary forces be put at its disposal by May 12 so that proper deployment of forces could be undertaken.

The demand seemed unprecedented as the poll body had sought 70,000 paramilitary forces for deployment in the recently-concluded Assembly elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, which has 403 Assembly constituencies and 80 Lok Sabha seats.

Earlier, the EC had sought 30,000 paramilitary personnel for the bypoll to Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha seats.

There are around 10 lakh paramilitary personnel under the Home Ministry's command, but it is difficult to assemble them from different parts of the country on such a short notice, the official said.

The PDP, the ruling coalition partner in Jammu and Kashmir, had urged the EC to defer indefinitely the Anantnag bypoll in the wake of the "volatile situation".

(With PTI inputs)

| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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