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EC plans on holding J&K polls before the winter
A Correspondent in Delhi
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September 23, 2008 22:12 IST
The Election Commission is contemplating holding the Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Assembly elections in the month of November and then go for the Assembly elections in five other states after a gap of 10 to 15 days.

The EC will take a final call on the schedule of all these elections on October 3 at a meeting of the Chief Election Commissioner and the two Election Commissioners.

"We will have to keep a gap of 10 to 15 days between the J&K elections and other elections for movement of the central para-military forces for the poll duties," EC sources said.

The J&K elections are being held early to ensure they are over before the  winter sets in, the sources said. They claimed both the Centre and the J&K governor have given a green signal to hold elections in the state at the earliest.

The terms of the assemblies in four other states are coming to an end only in December and that of the Rajasthan Assembly will end on January 14, and hence the EC has enough time to hold those polls after the J&K elections are over, the sources said.

The Madhya Pradesh [Images] and Mizoram Assemblies complete their terms on December 14, the Delhi [Images] assembly finishes on December 17 and the Chhattisgarh assembly concludes on December 21.

The Centre had earlier hinted at putting off the polls in Jammu and Kashmir to the summer in view of the persisting tension in the Valley, but it has come around to resolve that it would be politically incorrect to delay the elections as it would not only give boost to the separatists' current agitation but also send wrong signals to the international community.

Prithviraj Chavan, who holds the dual position as Congress general secretary incharge of J&K and Minister of State in the Prime Ministers Office, was in Srinagar [Images] last weekend to assess the situation and it was on the basis of his report that both the Centre and the Congress leadership decided to opt for elections on time to install a democratically elected government in the state.

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