No Assembly Elections in J&K – Jammu Kashmir Latest News | Tourism

Harsh Dev Singh
The J&K Legislative Assembly was suspended in June 2018 after the BJP withdrew support from the PDP. Subsequently, opposition parties including NC, Congress, PC and PDP offered to form the government saying they had the required numbers. They proclaimed before the then Governor of J&K on the strength of the majority in the legislature, but they preferred to dissolve the Assembly. And as the opposition accused a foul play to prevent the formation of the government, the Governor said that he never received any formal communication about the said parties because his fax machine was not there. Shocking but true. Here I am not siding with any of the parties that claimed to form the government. I may have been their strong opponent. But then, the mandate of the constitution should have been respected and they were given an opportunity to prove their majority in line with the principles of our “living and vibrant democracy” but it was avoided. Blame was diverted to the “functioning” fax machine that made national headlines and would probably find its place in the Archives, after a change of government, in legislative history as a tool of political sabotage. country.
As the fax machine was declared out of order, the elected officials were prematurely absolved of their duties and responsibilities as members of parliament. And the political parties had to accept the decision partly under duress and partly because elections would be held soon to pave the way for a new government. The way and manner in which the Legislative Assembly of J&K was dissolved will, however, remain etched in public memory as a moment of perversion of the basic principles enshrined in our democratic jurisprudence. It also talks about the decadence of constitutional values ​​and the collapse of our democratic system in a state like J&K (now UT).
The passage in question, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. Democracy in J&K continues to be abused and resented by the current rulers acting as undisputed despots and running the affairs of the government through their proxies in J&K for the past four years. And when the people demand the restoration of democratic government, the helmsmen make a statement that ensures early elections or silence the protagonists of democracy through the coercive apparatus of the UT. As all this is happening for the last four years, democracy continues to be delayed and denied in J&K on one pretext or the other, against the spirit of the constitution and the ‘obiter dicta’ and judgments of the Apex Court of the country.
The Supreme Court has on several occasions ruled that the Assembly Elections should be held within a period of six months in all those States/UTs where the Assemblies are dissolved beforehand. Even in the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of the State of Maharashtra, the Supreme Court reiterated that there is a statutory duty to vacate the Assembly seats within a period of six months so that the people are not deprived of due representation. “You cannot create a constitutional vacuum, a state of suspension for constituencies,” the Supreme Court reiterated and added that, in the end, it is the people who suffer in the absence of elected officials who stand up for their cause. The denial of democratic government is a punishment for the people, as the Supreme Court has also warned.
It is surprising, however, that the Assembly Elections continue to be denied in J&K on flimsy grounds so that the BJP can run the affairs of the J&K government through its chosen ones. J&K has been without a democratic government for the last four years. Elections are being delayed and denied and continue to be delayed for one reason or another. Sometimes they are denied because of security scenario, sometimes on the pretext of unfinished Demarcation exercise, sometimes because of Amar Nath Ji’s pilgrimage, sometimes taking the plea of ​​intense cold or hot conditions or heavy snowfall. And while the constitution continues to be subverted by making strange pretexts to deny Democracy to the people of J&K, even the Supreme Court judgments to restore time limited democratic governments in States/UTs continue to be flouted with impunity by the current authorities.
Postponing the elections on the pretext of not completing the demarcation process is also unjustified. When the state of Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated and the state of Telangana was formed, there was no Delimitation and Assembly Elections were held immediately. It was then stated that no delimitation can be done in the country before the first census in 2026, in view of the Constitutional Amendment made by the then NDA government in 2001-2002. In the case of J&K, however, the NDA itself was adopting different criteria to delay and deny the elections in an attempt to follow the proxy rule. The Delimitation Commission also worked at a snail’s pace leading to speculation that it had prolonged the exercise so much at the behest of the BJP. Depriving the people of popular authority and their right to a government of their own, it was also up to the ECI and the Delimitation Commission to explain and justify their role as autonomous bodies.
It is also worth mentioning that the Election Commission called for simultaneous polls of the Assembly and Parliament in 2019, but it did not materialize due to the interference of a political party. Later, ECI issued a statement on June 4, 2019, in which it stated that after the conduct of Amarnath Yatra, EC will announce the election schedule for Assembly Elections in J&K, and it was a wet fool. And during the visit of Full Election Commission led by CEC to J&K in February 2019, all political parties except BJP held Assembly Elections in J&K in April-May 2019. the ruling party in a good mood. Similarly, the statements of the early Assembly polls were also released by the central government, the governor and the governor of J&K, and these too have only created cynicism among the masses, given the frequency with which they are made and then forgotten.
ECI also seems to have gone into hibernation. Is it an indirect support to the BJP by allowing its proxy rule to continue in the troubled territory of J&K. Therefore, not only the institution is at stake, but everything that the constitution defends. ECI was conducting elections in other states without saying a single word about J&K Elections, which have been denied for the last four years since 2018. So much so that the post of Chief Election Officer (CEO) has recently been vacant. Months after Hirdesh Kumar was posted as Deputy Election Commissioner in New Delhi, and only in the last week, the post of CEO has been assigned to a junior officer without posting a full-time CEO. And while the date of publication of the final electoral rolls was advanced from October 25 to November 25, 2022, not a word was said about the restoration of democratic governance in J&K, which remained under the authoritarian rule of the BJP for the past 4 years. the years It is now believed that the BJP has never agreed to keep the proxy rule for J&K Elections.
Bureaucracy seems to be another obstacle to the revival of popular authority. After taking over all the executive and legislative powers and realizing their unaccountable authority, they do not want to pave the way for an elected government. The restoration of democracy in J&K thus continues to face a militant opposition of obsequious babus and defensive pundits, mostly solicited from outside the UT and assigned the significant task of governance.
Deprived of democratic government and the right to a government of their own, it is the common masses who suffer. They hardly have access to the babus who rules the shelter. And the babus have almost no connection with the general masses. The result is complete disenchantment. But then there is no one to talk to and questioning the government is the right thing to do. Former Prime Minister Omar Abdullah recently made a statement that his party would not “beg” in front of the Election Center, but would participate in it when they are held. I always feel like responding to his statement. Mr. Omar Abdullah..! Seeking elections is not demanding, but asserting our fundamental right to have a government chosen by the citizens in accordance with the principles enshrined in our constitution. Refusal to raise our voice against the denial of our constitutional rights would be cowardice. It is surprising that the people of the erstwhile state and its political leadership seem to have gone along with the backdoor rule imposed by the saffron regime. No one dares to come out openly. Congress, NC, PDP, Apni Party, PC among others have made regular media statements as a mere formality without taking an aggressive stand against the suppression of democracy in the demoted state. I have led loud protests outside Nirvachan Sadan, Jantar-Mantar in Delhi, apart from protesting outside ECI in New Delhi. Others must also be aggressive for the sake of democracy. Or else Assembly Elections will never be held in J&K as long as BJP remains in power.
(The writer is former Education Minister and Chairman, Aam Aadmi Party J&K State Coordination Committee)

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