After the three-day visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, speculations are rife over the maiden Assembly elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The last Assembly polls were held in December 2014 when Jammu and Kashmir was full-fledged State and the Union Territory of Ladakh was also part of the erstwhile J&K State.
While addressing a massive rally at north Kashmir's Baramulla district on Wednesday, the Union Home Minister said that the government has initiated the political process in the Union Territory and assembly elections will be held with the completion of the electoral roll process.
"As soon as the task of preparing the electoral rolls by the Election Commission is over, elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir with complete transparency", Shah said.
"We have started a political process. I want to assure you that once the work of publishing electoral rolls by the Election Commission is completed, elections will be conducted with full transparency and your own elected representatives will govern here," the Union minister announced.
Assembly elections in J&K are not possible this year
Now the question arises that when will the elections be held in Jammu and Kashmir? Elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are possible only after February next year. It is impossible to conduct elections in Jammu and Kashmir in December, January, and February due to snowfall in the mountainous region.
Political observers believed that elections will be held in March-April 2023, which is the best-suited condition for polls.
Preparations already started for Assembly polls in J&K
In connection with the preparations for the Assembly elections in J&K, the First-Level-Checking (FLC) of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) will be done soon.
The Election Commission of India is going to conduct a workshop of all the 20 Deputy Commissioners of J&K in this regard very soon. Already EVMs from different parts of the country arriving in J&K.
The delimitation process to redraw Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir has already been completed.
The Election Commission has already announced that the final draft of the electoral rolls will be published on the 25th of November.