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No Simultaneous Assembly Polls in Jammu and Kashmir, Says Election Commission

Seen here is an EVM machine.

Seen here is an EVM machine.

The state will vote in the Lok Sabha elections in five phases on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29 and May 6.

New Delhi: The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections won’t be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission announced on Sunday evening.

The state will vote in the Lok Sabha elections in five phases on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29 and May 6.

The events unfolding in and around the state — the issue of national security to be more precise — over the last one month has become the central plank in the BJP's campaign.

In that sense, the narrative from this small state with just six Parliamentary seats – three from Kashmir, two from Jammu and one from Ladakh — has become a national narrative.

Given the unrelenting violence in form of regular encounters that the state has seen since July 2016 with the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani, protests against jailing of separatists, NIA raids, crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami, the Pulwama attack, unrest over article 370 and 35A, the EC will have perhaps its toughest assignment in this state.

Getting people to come and out and vote will be a huge challenge for the EC given what happened in the last two Parliamentary bypolls that were scheduled in the state - Srinagar by-poll saw a voter turn out of 7% and Anantnag bypoll had to be cancelled. For the first time in nearly 3 decades the polls had to be cancelled due to poor response and bad law and order situation.

In the recent municipal polls, while some areas in Jammu saw a voter turn out of nearly 80%, valley registered a voter turn out of 8%.