By the end of the year, there’s a good chance that J&K will be polled: Rajnath

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated Friday that there is a “high probability” of starting the electoral process by “the end of this year,” in the first hint of a schedule for assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir.

Following the repeal of Article 370, the state of J&K was reduced to a Union Territory in August 2019; the state’s bifurcation resulted in the formation of a distinct UT of Ladakh.

“Mujhe lagta hai ki is saal ke ant tak ho sakta hai ki chunavi prakriya bhi prarambh ho,” Singh stated at a celebration commemorating the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh, the princely state of J&K’s first Dogra monarch. Iski prabal sambhavna hai (I believe the electoral process will begin before the end of the year.) There’s a good chance it’ll happen).”

He stated that the makeup of the J&K Assembly will alter as a result of the recently completed delimitation operation. He stated that instead of the 83 seats that were available previously — 37 in Jammu and 46 in Kashmir — there will now be 90 seats available, with 47 in Kashmir and 43 in Jammu.

J&K had to “suffer the agony of being isolated for 70 years,” Singh added, but “this problem has finally been overcome,” referring to the repeal of Article 370.

“This new Jammu and Kashmir will soon stand on its own two feet and become a model not only for India, but for the entire globe,” he said. He stated that the people of J&K must play a role in creating the state’s future and that J&K, together with Ladakh, will play a significant role in the new India.

Without identifying Kashmiri Pandits, Singh stated that J&K has already experienced “migration anguish” and that it will not be permitted again. “Under whatever circumstances, we will ensure that no community is forced to migrate,” he added.