Jammu and Kashmir: Indian PM Modi promises elections "soon"

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said his government plans to hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir soon, the BBC reports.

He told regional leaders in Delhi on Thursday that polls could be held after an exercise to redraw the boundaries of assembly seats was carried out.

This was the first such meeting since a controversial decision revoked the region's special status in 2019.

Relations between Delhi and the restive Muslim-majority Kashmir valley have worsened in recent years.

Mr Modi's government imposed direct rule in 2018 after his party's coalition with a local party broke up.

The region used to be a state, before being turned into a federally-administered territory in 2019. Local leaders reportedly told Mr Modi to restore statehood and hold elections.

Former chief ministers of the region, Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and several other leaders attended the meeting.

The ministers are part of an alliance known as the Jammu and Kashmir People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, a conglomerate of political parties critical of Delhi's militarised role in the valley. The alliance won the largest number of seats in municipal elections last year.

Some leaders, including Omar Abdullah, questioned the timing of the decision to redraw the boundaries of assembly seats, which is know as delimitation. It's carried out routinely to ensure all constituencies, both parliamentary and state assemblies, have almost a similar number of voters. The exercise is due to take place across the country only after 2026.

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