STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: The Panchayat and the local bodies polls in Jammu and Kashmir are on despite the boycott by the two main regional parties, Chief Secretary B.V.R Subrahmanyam said on Monday.
His comments come on a day the Peoples Democratic Party said it would boycott the elections, saying the security situation was not conducive for holding these polls.
The party’s decision comes days after its arch-rival, the National Conference, announced its decision to boycott these elections until the Centre and the Governor administration clarify its position on Article 35-A, which gives special rights to the people in the State.
“Panchayat and local bodies polls are on. The decision was taken in July,” Subrahmanyam told reporters when asked if the polls would be postponed.
He said the process of issuing notification for the polls would begin within a week. “For the urban and local bodies polls, the voter-list drafts have been published and the delimitation and reservation of constituencies has been done. The actual notification will be issued by the CEO (Chief Electoral Officer, J&K) in a few days.”
A month after that, the CEO will notify the dates for the Panchayat polls. He is just waiting for notifying the dates for urban and local bodies polls, the Chief Secretary added.
Asked about the security scenario, K Vijay Kumar, the adviser to Governor S.P Malik, said it was being reviewed based on the requirements and there would be a flexible plan based on the dynamics.
Subrahmanyam and Kumar visited the south Kashmir districts of Kulgam, Shopian, Anantnag and Pulwama to have first-hand appraisal of the scenario and ensure on-spot redressal of public grievances, an official said.
Baseer Ahmad Khan, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; Muneer Ahmad Khan, ADGP (law and order); and S P Pani, IGP, Kashmir; accompanied them, the official added.
Meanwhile, the government has formed two official committees to ensure smooth conduct of polls to municipalities and Panchayats in the State.
Elections to municipal bodies and Panchayats in the state are scheduled to begin from October 1 and November 8, respectively.
“Sanction is hereby accorded to the constitution of following committees to ensure smooth inter-departmental coordination to facilitate the conduct of elections to Municipal bodies and Panchayats in the State”, said Hilal Ahmed, Commissioner-Secretary, General Administrative Department (GAD) in an order on Monday.
The six-member panel of heads of the Home Department, the Housing and Urban Development Department, Finance, the GAD, the Information and Police has been set up for coordination for urban local bodies polls, he said.
Another six-member panel of heads of the Home Department, the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Finance, the GAD, the Information and Police has been set up for coordination for Panchayat polls, Ahmed said.
Elections to Municipal bodies will be conducted in four phases with polling dates between October 1 to 5. Similarly, elections to panchayats will be conducted in eight phases with polling dates between November 8 and December 4.
On Friday last, the Jammu and Kashmir State Administrative Council (SAC) had announced elections to municipalities and panchayats in the state.
Last Panchayat polls in the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir were held in 2011 after a gap of about 37 years. The polls, held for 4,098 Sarpanch and 29,402 Panch constituencies, had witnessed a record 80 per cent turnout.
Last Municipal polls in the State were held in 2005. There are 47 Municipal Council and Committees in Kashmir Division and 37 in Jammu Division. The Srinagar Municipal Corporation has 73 wards while as the Jammu Municipal Corporation consists of 71 wards. There are three Municipal Councils each in Kashmir and Jammu Divisions.
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