Jammu & Kashmir panchayat, municipality polls to be held this year: Governor
The elections were due in January. But they were deferred after the PDP-BJP coalition government told the Centre the situation was not conducive for them.india Updated: Aug 16, 2018 11:18 IST
Jammu and Kashmir governor Narendra Nath Vohra on Wednesday announced local bodies’ polls will be held in the state from September to December in a phased manner.
“The administration has taken the required steps for organising elections to panchayats and municipalities. Necessary amendments to the existing laws have been made and speedy action is underway to gear up the administrative and logistical arrangements for undertaking the elections,’’ Vohra said in his Independence Day speech.
The elections were due in January. But they were deferred after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition government told the Centre the situation was not conducive for them.
Officials feared the growing militant presence, including those of locals, in Kashmir and the killing of 16 sarpanches (Panchayat heads) and panchs (members) over the last four years could deter people from contesting the polls. The electoral process has been accelerated since the imposition of the governor’s rule in June after the coalition government fell following the BJP’s withdrawal of support.
Vohra said the delay in the establishment of democratically-elected self-governing bodies at the grassroots level has led to the “loss of considerable funds” that would have become available if elections had been held earlier.
“We are also taking action to ensure that adequate funds, a delegation of administrative and financial authority, deployment of the required staff and logistical support are provided to the municipalities and panchayats, after they get established.’’
He said the electoral rolls had been issued and that electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be used. Vohra recently approved the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporations (Amendment) Bill, 2018, for the conduct of elections using EVMs.
Hizbul Mujahideen, the state’s biggest indigenous militant group, had in January warned former panchayat members against contesting the elections.
Around 4,500 sarpanches and 29,000 panchs were elected in the last panchayat polls in 2011. Urban local bodies polls have not been held for over a decade.
First Published: Aug 15, 2018 23:41 IST