A week after the all-party meeting, a delegation of opposition leaders met the Election Commission of India to press for the demand for assembly elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The delegation was led by former Chief Minister and National Conference president Dr. Farooq Abdullah comprising representatives of Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP), Congress, Panthers Party, Shiv Sena, Awami National Conference, Aam Aadmi Party, CPI and CPI (M).

"During a meeting with opposition leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, the Election Commission of India assured that elections will be held very soon", the chief spokesman of Jammu and Congress Ravinder Sharma, who was part of the delegation told The International Business Times.

"All opposition leaders argued that there is no reason to delay assembly elections in J&K because the delimitation process and the exercise of summary revision of electoral roll have already been completed", Sharma said.

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After the meeting, National Conference leader Dr. Farooq Abdullah said that the poll body has assured to look into this matter and added, "it's unfortunate that a State which is the crown of India was made a Union Territory. We want a democratic government in Jammu and Kashmir."

 Opposition parties submit a memorandum to ECI

Opposition parties submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission of India, seeking early assembly polls in the Union Territory.

The signatories of the memorandum include National Conference president Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and other senior leaders of national political parties.

The memorandum reads that Jammu and Kashmir is without a legislative assembly and an elected government for the last five years.

Election Commission of India.
Election Commission of India.IANS

"In disregard of the letter and spirit of the Constitution, an unrepresentative and unaccountable bureaucracy is allowed to run the government to the discomfort and inconvenience of the general public," it reads.

It reads that the panchayat elections and elections to other PRIs cannot be a substitute for legislative assembly elections and the government and for that matter, the ECI cannot avoid and delay assembly elections on that ground. "Had it been so, there would be no need to conduct assembly elections in states, that the ECI is with due dispatch and punctuality, as is evident from recently held assembly elections in Meghalaya, Tripura, and Nagaland and the elections scheduled to be held in Karnataka."

It added in each case the argument though, inherently specious, could have been that as PRIs were in place there was no need to hold assembly elections."

"The Hon'ble Home Minister and other functionaries of the Government of India have more than once stated that the government is ready to facilitate the conduct of assembly elections and the final call is to be taken by the Election Commission of India."

It reads the Election Commission of India is under a constitutional obligation to hold assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and delay in and denial of assembly elections would amount to a denial of fundamental and democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and a breach of constitutional obligations.

"We however reiterate that the assembly election would be the first and important step towards the restoration of all the constitutional rights guaranteed in the constitution of India and fulfillment of political aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir," it reads.

"We the signatories to this memorandum representing different political parties of Jammu and Kashmir and various national political parties implore and request the Hon'ble Election Commission of India to announce the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir without any further delay and notify the election schedule so that the democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and access to democratic institutions is restored", the memorandum reads.

On March 11 opposition parties announced to meet ECI

After the all-party meeting opposition parties on March 11 announcedthat they will reach out to the national opposition leadership and approach the Election Commission of India (ECI) to press for elections in the union territory.

An all-party meeting was held at the residence of National Conference (NC) president Dr. Farooq Abdullah in Jammu's Banthindi which was attended by several regional opposition parties including Congress, People's Democratic Party (PDP), Communist Party of India (Marxist), and others.

The former chief minister in a press conference held after the meeting told reporters that the issues concerning the region including the property tax, encroachment drive, students' protest against blacklisted Aptech, and the current political situation of J&K were discussed.

"Everyone put forward their point of view to bring the region out of the problems. We witnessed how the strike called by the traders in Jammu has emerged explaining how bad our situation is," Dr. Abdullah said.

The NC president added that the parties have decided to go to Delhi to meet national leaders to inform them about the problems faced by the people of the region.

"Both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister claim that there is normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and preparations are going on for G20 meeting then why can't let the elections be held," Abdullah said.

Dr. Farooq Abdullah added that they will also go before the election commission with support from national leaders to advocate for elections.