A delegation led by Farooq Abdullah, the president of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC), is scheduled to meet the Election Commission of India (ECI) on March 16, 2023. The delegation will reportedly seek early assembly elections in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The delegation, which includes senior leaders of the JKNC, will also discuss issues related to the delimitation of constituencies in the region. The delegation’s visit comes amid growing demands from political parties in Jammu and Kashmir for the early conduct of assembly elections.
The JKNC, along with other regional parties, had boycotted the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir, citing the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and the bifurcation of the state into two union territories. The parties had also refused to participate in the District Development Council (DDC) elections held in the region in 2020.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has indicated that assembly elections in the region are likely to be held in 2024, after the delimitation process is completed. The delimitation process involves redrawing the boundaries of constituencies to reflect changes in population over the years.
The JKNC, which has been the dominant political force in the Kashmir Valley, has been demanding the restoration of the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir and the restoration of the special status that was enjoyed by the state under Article 370. The party has been critical of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) policies in Jammu and Kashmir, including the abrogation of Article 370 and the downgrading of the state into two union territories.
The BJP, on the other hand, has defended its actions, saying that the abrogation of Article 370 was necessary to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India and to bring development to the region. The party has also accused the JKNC and other regional parties of promoting separatism and of being soft on terrorism.
The upcoming meeting between the JKNC delegation and the ECI is expected to be closely watched, as it could have implications for the political future of Jammu and Kashmir. The meeting comes at a time when there is growing discontent among the people of Jammu and Kashmir over the lack of political representation and the slow pace of development in the region.