New Delhi: Announcing the schedule of Lok Sabha election, the Election Commission of India on Sunday clarified that Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir will not be held along with the general polls. Citing security concerns, the ECI said that Assembly elections couldn’t be held along with Lok Sabha polls in militancy-hit state.

The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was dissolved last year. The EC is bound to hold fresh polls in the state.

The security situation in the Valley is complex, particularly after the Pulwama attack in which terrorists targeted CRPF cavalcade, killing 40 jawans.

Retaliating to this, the Indian Air Force carried out airstrikes at terror facilities in Pakistan.

A day later, Pakistan violated Indian air space. Since then, tensions in the India-Pakistan relations are at its peak with continuous ceasefire violation across the Line of Control (LoC).

The Centre and the state administration, being managed by the Centre-appointed governor, was against holding the two elections together. However, political parties in the Valley were expecting simultaneous polls. Earlier this week, they unanimously suggested to the Election Commission in a meeting to hold the two polls together.

Reacting to the election schedule, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah said, “What happened to @rajnathsingh’s assurance to Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha as well as to the all party meeting recently in Delhi that all forces would be made available for simultaneous polls?”

The Chief Election Commissioner said that the decision was taken after ECI officials visited the state and interacted with the political parties, the state administration and the Ministry of Home Affairs. He said the prevailing situation, the lack of central forces and other logistical issues prevent the commission from holding the state assembly elections alongside the Lok Sabha polls. He said the commission would continuously monitor the situation in the state and take a call.

However, the commission found no issues in holding the Lok Sabha polls across Jammu and Kashmir for the six segments, three in Kashmir, two in Jammu and one in Ladakh. It is going to be in five phases: April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, and May 6.

The EC has appointed three poll observers including Noor Mohammad, AS Gill and Vinod Zutshi.

The Jammu and Kashmir assembly’s six-year term was to end on March 16, 2021, but it got dissolved after a ruling coalition between the PDP and the BJP fell apart. Notably, the state is under governor’s rule currently.

However, the chief election commission announced that the state will to go for Lok Sabha polls in five phases. He also announced that assembly elections will be simultaneously held in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh along with the general elections.

Three of these states are ruled by non-BJP parties, where the BJP has been trying to carve a niche.