Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said that urban local body and panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir will be held as per schedule.
Speaking to PTI on the sidelines of a BJP party workers’ meet here, Singh said these polls would give all parties an opportunity to interact with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The state’s chief electoral officer announced Friday that a four-phase election to urban local bodies from October 8.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra had said on September 16 that panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in nine-phases on a non-party basis beginning November 17.
“Around 58 lakh electorate will be eligible to vote in the 35,096 panchayat constituencies. The notification for the first phase will be issued on October 23,” he had said.
Kabra had told reporters here that counting of votes would take place on the same day or the very next day.
The two major political parties in Jammu and Kashmir – the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – have decided to boycott the polls, saying that the central government is yet to declare its stand on Article 35A.
Article 35A was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order and accords special rights and privileges to the Jammu and Kashmir citizens.
Article 35A, which also denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state, has been challenged in the Supreme Court and the matter is under its consideration.
Singh reiterated the Centre’s resolve to wipe out terrorism from the restive state, and asserted there was “no question right now” of talks with Pakistan till it ends its support to terrorism.
“Under present circumstances, talks cannot happen with Pakistan,” Singh said.
He lauded the pace of development under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that the country, at this rate of progress, would soon become a superpower in the fields like education, technology and knowledge.