J&K local bodies polls from October 8
Despite boycott by two mainstream political parties —National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) — local bodies polls in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in four phases starting October 8.
SRINAGAR: Despite the boycott of local bodies elections from two mainstream political parties, the National Conference and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the state’s chief electoral officer Shaleen Kabra announced on Saturday that municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held over four phases starting from October 8.
Kabra said that polls for municipal corporations, municipal councils and committees will be held on October 8, 10, 13 and 18. The counting will be held on October 20.
Kabra said the notification for the first phase will be issued on September 18 and for phases 2, 3 and 4 on September 20, 22 and 24, respectively. He said that over 17 lakh voters exercise their franchise in these polls. The CEO said the polling will be held from 7am to 2pm.
The National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had boycotted the municipal and panchayat elections by citing an “atmosphere of fear” due to the “assault on the special constitutional position” of Jammu and Kashmir.
Leaders of both the parties had said that the linking of the local body elections with the Article 35A case in the Supreme Court “has created serious apprehensions in the minds of the people who genuinely see it as assault on the special constitutional position of the state”.
The Congress had also said that time is not conducive for these polls, however, Congress state president Ghulam Ahmad Mir had said the party will take a decision on participation in polls only after the election notification will be issued.
J&K, which is under the governor’s rule, is tense over apprehensions that Article 35A of the Constitution might be scrapped.
The Supreme Court is hearing petitions on Article 35A, which empowers the J&K legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them.
The court has put off the hearings to January after the Centre and the state government argued that it could lead to a law and order situation ahead of the panchayat and local body elections slated for October and November.
The notification for the first phase will be issued on September 18 and for phases 2, 3 and 4 on September 20, 22 and 24, respectively. The polling will be held from 7am to 2pm.
SHALEEN KABRA, J&K chief electoral officer