After much speculations, the Election Commission finally postponed the Anantnag Lok Sabha bypoll to May 25 following a violent public protests spoiled voting in the Srinagar by-elections, leaving eight people dead and hundreds injured.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration maintained that the law and order situation is not favorable to hold elections, said the poll panel. The move was taken following a meeting between Jammu and Kashmir chief electoral officer Shantmanu and political parties. EC took their views on the April 12 by-election in Anantnag before coming to the decision.
Ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) told EC to postpone the Anantnag bypoll to evade a recurrence of the Srinagar violence. The state government had formally written to the poll panel that polls couldn’t be held in the present environment, Tasaduq Mufti, PDP candidate for Anantnag, brother of CM Mehbooba Mufti told reporters.
However, the opposition National Conference and the Congress confronted that it was too late now to defer the by-poll. NC leader Akbar Lone said the credibility of the EC is at stake, and advised that another round of extensive violence will engulf the insurgency-hit state if the Srinagar by-election was annulled.
On the other hand, Congress leaders Usman Majid and GN Monga blamed the PDP of mounting pressure on the EC to postpone the by-polls.