Seeking large participation of people in the upcoming panchayat polls, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said it would be followed by elections to urban local bodies (ULB) to fully empower these basic democratic institutions. The state government has announced holding of the panchayat polls from mid-February. Panchayat elections were last held in the state in 2011, while polls to urban local bodies were held in 2005. “My government is committed to empowerment of grass-root level institutions and the proposed elections to the panchayats and ULBs is a major step in that direction,” Mufti said. Seeking large participation of people in the panchayat elections, she said it would be followed by elections to the urban local bodies. “Elections to panchayats and ULBs will empower these institutions to not only have the democratic powers but the financial resources as well to undertake developmental activities at grass-root levels. “These democratic institutions play a vital role in taking forward the all-round developmental agenda of the government for every section of the population,” Mufti said while addressing various delegations here.
The chief minister said the state’s election authority would formally set the process for holding panchayat polls into motion after the Rural Development Department issues the requisite notification in this regard in accordance to the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act.
She said her government had made a commitment on the floor of the House in June 2016 that the elections to the rural and urban local bodies would be held at the earliest to ensure full empowerment of these institutions.