Already late by 6 months: Border tension likely to cause more delays in JK panchayat elections

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Pardeep Singh Bali
Already suspended by several months, the much proposed Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to face more delays in the backdrop of prevailing escalation of border tension.
Following momentous ‘surgical strike’ carried by the Indian Army across the Line of Control (LoC) in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), the infuriated Pakistan has resorted to intermittent ceasefire violations, which has caused a sort of chaos among people as well as administration.
“Amid prevailing conditions, it is not possible for the administration to conduct Panchayat elections, as all concentration is focused on the borders, as Pakistan cannot be trusted,” said senior officer at JK CEO.
He said that the Election Commission has all set the process for holding Panchayat elections in the State, but prevailing situation is hampering the preparations.
“There are a total of 33,500 Sarpanch and Panch constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir including 4098 Sarpanch and 29402 Panch segments,” he said and added that of 4098 Sarpanch constituencies, 2145 were in Kashmir division (including Ladakh region) and 1953 in Jammu division.
He further said that while out of 29402 Panch constituencies, there were 15,767 in Kashmir division (including Ladakh region) and 13635 in Jammu region.
“We have had all the preparations done for conducting these elections after Chief Minister announced to conduct same in April this year, but firstly the situation in Kashmir and now border tension have pushed the tentative date,” he said and added now expected date of conducting elections for Panchayats is ending December.
He, moreover, said that after missing of April deadline, the CEO proposed to conduct same in June, which also met the same fate.
“The CEO had set the process in motion for holding polls in June-July by notifying the dates for segregation of electoral rolls and survey for reserved constituencies of Sarpanches and Panches, but this could not happen and the date was further pushed,” he said.
Pertinently, the last Panchayat elections in the State were held in May-June 2011 and the Panchayats were constituted in July 2011. The five years term of the Panchayats will come to end in July this year.

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