Holding Panchayat polls big challenge   

Holding Panchayat polls big challenge   
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Jammu and Kashmir government is getting ready to hold the Municipal and Panchayat elections in the state and the schedule of these polls is likely to be announced in coming days.
Since the day Governor’s rule has been imposed in the state holding of Panchayat elections has been a priority. These elections were scheduled to be held earlier this year. The then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had even announced the dates for the polls but at the last moment the decision to hold these polls was deferred. At that point of time the then Governor N N Vohra had expressed displeasure over the decision of the PDP-BJP government to defer these polls. These elections being deferred triggered the speculations that PDP didn’t want to test the waters due to many reasons. The party feared that candidates supported by it may not do well and it would provide a chance to the opposition parties to claim that PDP has become unpopular and its base is eroding fast. However, the then PDP-BJP government said that polls couldn’t be held due to situation in Kashmir being volatile.
Municipal elections were last held in J&K in January 2005 and elected Municipal bodies had completed their five-year term in 2010. Elections to Municipalities haven’t been held for the last about eight and a half years. Similarly Panchayat elections were last held in April-May 2011 and the elected Panchayats had completed their tem in July 2016. Elections to Panchayats have also not been held since then.
Holding Panchayat and Municipal elections could prove to be a challenge for the security agencies in the Valley, especially south Kashmir which has emerged as a hotbed of militancy during the past few years.  Despite hiccups it looks like that Governor’s administration seems firm on its decision to go ahead with polls.