In a sharply worded statement, the Election Commission of India (ECI) objected to Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu’s recent remarks to various publications about the prospect of elections in Jammu and Kashmir and the Delimitation exercise.
ECI’s objection cited reports in the The Tribune, among others, where Murmu has been quoted as saying that elections in the union territory would be held after Delimitation 2021.
Stating that the ECI had taken ‘exception’ to such statements, the statement noted that “in the constitutional scheme of things, the timings etc of elections is the sole remit of the ECI”.
Suggesting that the matter of deciding dates of elections was subject to various factors like “topography, weather, COVID-19, sensitivities arising out of regional and local festivities” as well as availability of central forces and railway coaches, the ECI said that it would be “proper for authorities other than Election Commission to refrain from making such statements”.
The statement further said that “such statements” were “virtually tantamount to interfering” with the EC’s constitutional mandate.
In an interview to The Tribune, LG Murmu had reportedly said: “The Election Commission of India has appointed members (of the Delimitation Commission) and also co-opted members. There will be the Census 2021. I don’t know what view they will take.”
A 1985-batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre Girish Chandra Murmu was appointed the first Lieutenant Governor of Jammu-Kashmir last October.
The bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories alongside the effective revocation of Article 370 had set the ball rolling for a delimitation exercise to be carried out in the region for 114 constituencies on the basis of the 2011 Census.
(With inputs from The Tribune)