Stage set for postponing Assembly elections in JK
JAMMU: Notwithstanding high pitch raised by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah against any move to defer the upcoming elections to Legislative Assembly in Jammu and Kashmir, slated later this year, there is likelihood of these to be postponed by few months in the wake of havoc caused by floods. The damage occurred across the State, especially in the Valley, can’t be restored in days. It will take months together for the affected areas to come back to normal situation.
Floods have come as blessing in disguise to the ruling coalition, which lost its face during parliamentary elections in April-May this year with none of the two– Congress and National Conference– even opening account. The two parties are in a state of shock. Nothing seems to be going their way. Therefore, both these parties can only take comfort in delaying the process though publicly they may show bravado of being ready to face the electorate.
In this backdrop, the assertion of the Chief Minister can’t be taken on face value. The Congress has already succeeded in getting the floods declared as national calamity by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Srinagar visit. Former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had spoken to the Prime Minister in this regard last evening. This has strengthened the case for deferring elections.
The two coalition partners would, in normal course, now like to consolidate their position by deriving optimum advantage relief disbursement. The relief distribution and compensation for the damaged property and crops besides restoring infrastructure is going to be a mega exercise, as almost the entire state is affected. This may bring the coalition nearer to people, provided the opposition, mainly Peoples Democratic Party and Bhartiya Janata Party won’t insist for President’s Rule in case the government formation is delayed beyond Janury 2015. The present dispensation is completing its six-year tenure on 5th January 2015.
Relief distribution will also remain bone of contention between the ruling coalition and the opposition. Having achieved distinction of being second most corrupt State of India, Jammu and Kashmir does not enjoy track record of transparency. The people will remain highly skeptical about fair distribution of relief and compensation. During 2005 earth quake, the people of the border areas like Uri, Karnah and Poonch had sought disbursement of relief through the army as reports of omissions and commissions had surfaced in provision of relief material in a big way.
The PDP, BJP and other Jammu based political parties would crave for President’s Rule in the event of deferment of polls, which will be a most uncomfortable situation for the ruling National Conference and Congress.