The Election Commission on Monday deferred the Anantnag Lok Sabha bypoll to May 25 in wake of heavy violence taking place in the area. The decision comes after miscreants set ablaze two government schools in South Kashmir’s Padderpora area. Both the schools were reportedly designated a polling booth for the bypoll for the Anantnag parliamentary seat. The by-election was to be held on April 12. A notification issued by Election Comission said that state administration apprehends that “violent attempts” can be made by miscreants to thwart the poll process. The EC pointed at large scale violence which took place in Srinagar yesterday during a similar bypoll. Now, the poll-body has set June 1 as the date by which election process should be completed in Anantnag. The long period has apparently been given keeping in mind the possibility of repoll that may be held there.
In another incident, eight people were killed yesterday in firing by security forces in the Srinagar Lok Sabha bypoll in Jammu and Kashmir. Also, a record low of only 7.14 per cent of the electorate came out to cast their votes in the constituency. As per reports, top Election Commission brass met at least twice today to discuss precedents and various options available to it, so that the poll panel could take a considered view under these circumstances. Yesterday, the State Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu had said that a decision on re-poll in violence-hit areas will be taken after examining the diaries of the presiding officers.
As per a PTI report, almost 70 per cent of the polling booths in Budgam district were abandoned by the polling staff due in wake of violent protests in several areas. The byelection to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat was necessitated after state CM Mehbooba Mufti vacated her seat and went on to win the Assembly bypoll in June last after.
With PTI inputs