Polls to be held for vacant sarpanch, panch seats in J-K
The Jammu and Kashmir administrative council has given the go-ahead for elections to vacant sarpanch and panch constituencies in the union territory (UT).
The council, which met on Wednesday evening under the chairmanship of lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha, approved the proposal of the department of rural development and panchayati raj to issue a notification for holding the elections.
“The detailed schedule will be finalised by the election authority,” the official spokesman said, adding that filling of the vacant constitutional posts will ensure devolution of powers and proper grassroots planning in the third tier of the local self-government.
He said that the elections will enable non-functional panchayats to start working.
Earlier, general elections to 39,521 sarpanch and panch constituencies were conducted in 2018, of which 13,257 positions fell vacant due to resignations, removal or elections of sarpanches as block development council chairpersons, death, and non-availability of candidates at the time of elections. Among these 1,089 vacancies are for the offices of sarpanches and while 12,168 are for panches.
More than 504 panches have resigned since the 2018 polls for various reasons, the maximum from south Kashmir’s Anantnag with 129 resignations, followed by central Kashmir’s Budgam district with 81 and in Baramulla and Kupwara districts with 67 and 61 resignations, respectively.
Twelve sarpanches who resigned after getting elected include one each in Anantnag and Baramulla districts; five in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district and one each in Baramulla, Budgam and Bandipore districts of Kashmir.
Five panchayat members were killed by militants in the last one year and many panchayat members have been moved to high-security zones after security forces received inputs that they were on the radar of militants.
Since the 2018 polls, more than 504 panches have resigned over different reasons. The highest number of resignations came from south Kashmir’s Anantnag with 129 resignations, followed by central Kashmir’s Budgam district with 81 while in Baramulla and Kupwara districts 67 and 61 panches submitted their resignations.
Prominent mainstream political parties, National Conference and Congress, didn’t participate in the last panchayat polls.
The J-K government had earlier framed an apex level and two divisional level committees to conduct preparatory work for by-elections for panchayats and BDCs in two divisions of the UT.
The elections, earlier planned for March, were deferred on the day when militants killed block development chairman Bupinder Singh at central Kashmir’s Khag area.
Singh was without security and had not informed the station house officer of the Khag police station when he went to Dalwash village where he was killed.