Jammu and Kashmir panchayat election dates announced: Polls to be held in 8 phases from March 5-19, announces Election Commission

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Updated: February 13, 2020 1:53:57 PM

Jammu and Kashmir panchayat polls: Polling to nearly 13,000 vacant posts of panch and sarpanch in gram panchayats in eight different phases between March 5 and 19.

Jammu and Kashmir panchayat election to be held in 8 phases from March 5-19.

The Election Commission has announced the schedule of the panchayat polls for vacant seats in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The polling will be held for nearly 13,000 vacant posts of panch and sarpanch in gram panchayats in eight different phases between March 5 and 19. The Election Commission said it will use ballot boxes for the panchayat polls.

It will be the first elections in Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre scrapped Article 370 and bifurcated the state into Union Territories in August last year.

Nearly posts were lying vacant since November last year when the elections to the local bodies were held. In Kashmir, more than 12,500 of 20,093 panch and sarpanch seats remained vacant since then.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar said, “Panchayat elections for vacant posts of every block will be held. Ballot boxes will be used. It will be conducted in eight phases.”

He said that while polling will take place in four phases in Jammu division, polling in the Kashmir division will take place in eight phases.

“From now onward, Model Code of Conduct is enforced and it will be implementable in all the places where elections are being held. There will be 8 phases of elections. For Jammu division it is 4 phases, for Kashmir division it is 8 phases,” Kumar said.

The announcement of the polls comes in the midst of 36 Union Ministers’ visit to the Jammu and Kashmir. Several state politicians including former CMs Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah are still under detention. While Omar and Mehbooba have been slapped with the Public Safety Act recently, Farooq was slapped with the PSA last year.

In 2018, when elections to the local bodies were held, Jammu and Kashmir had witnessed poor participation. Two major regional political parties — the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference led by Omar Abdullah boycotted it.

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