As per norms, Panch and Sarpanch are elected at the village level by the people.
Months after Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union teerritories, the region held Block Development Council (BDC) elections on Thursday. It was the first election several months after restrictions were imposed across the region. The restrictions are now being lifted gradually. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the most successful party, winning 81 seats.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer, Shailendra Kumar told news agency ANI, “The party wise position looks like this – BJP 81, Indian National Congress 1, Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers Party 8, BSP 0, Independents 217 – total comes to 307.”
“As per the report we received till 1 pm, total voting percentage was 98.3%. Highest voting was done in Srinagar dist – 100%, the lowest was in Pulwama & Shopian – 86% and 85% respectively”, the agency quoted him further as saying.
As per norms, Panch and Sarpanch are elected at the village level by the people. After this, these elected representatives elect chairpersons of Block Development Councils which are are considered to be second tier organisation in the Panchayati Raj system. While, Jammu and Kashmir has 316 blocks, elections were held in 283 of them. Chairpersons were elected unopposed in 27 blocks .
As per Kumar, 93.65 per cent voting was recorded in 10 districts in the Kashmir region, while 99.4 per cent was recorded in 10 districts in Jammu. There were a total of 26,629 panch and sarpanch voters. Of them, 8,313 were women and 18,316 were men.
The National Conference had earlier made clear that it would not participate in BDC elections until its leaders are released. NC leaders and former CMs Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar have been under house arrest since August 5. A number of other mainstream political leaders, including former CM Mehbooba Mufti, also remain under detention.