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SRINAGAR: The election commission of India had on Sunday announced that the elections in Anantnag parliamentary segment in southern Kashmir would be held in three phases, spread over four districts in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls beginning 11 April. Pertinently authorities had failed to hold the Southern Kashmir Anantnag parliamentary by-election in 2017. This is the first time that the election is being held for a parliamentary segment in three phases.

Slamming this, Hyderabad MP and AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi said, “Have you ever heard that election to a parliament seat would be held in three days, in three phases… there are four districts in Anantnag. Two districts in one phase, one district in second phase and one district in third phase… Wah Modiji Wah. What have you made of Kashmir. Because of your governance, the election of a parliament seat is held in three phases.”

Election Commission had decided to announce the schedule for only Lok Sabha polls in the state and not for the assembly elections after receiving inputs from authorities on constraint of availability of central forces for enforcing security in the wake of recent violence. In 2017, the ECI deferred the by-election for Anantnag parliamentary seat stating that free and fair poll was not possible due to prevailing ground situation and non-availability of sufficient security forces.

The Jammu and Kashmir assembly was dissolved in November last year, months after the Mehbooba Mufti-headed government in the state fell following the BJP withdrawing support to it in June. The State has been under Governor’s rule since the BJP-PDP government fell. Though Assembly polls are due in Jammu and Kashmir, it could not be held as the Election Commission expressed inability as the situation was bad Owaisi added while speaking to reporters. Following the ECI directive, former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Something is wrong with this announcement. The ECI has counted 7 or 8 LS seats for my state but J&K only has SIX seats. #confused.”  

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