Countdown begins for Panchayat polls

Countdown begins for Panchayat polls
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The stage is getting set for Panchayat polls, which are all set to commence on November 17. These elections would be held in the nine phases and would end on December 11, 2018.
The major mainstream parties of Kashmir National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party apparently seem to be firm on their stands that they won’t contest the Panchayat polls. Both the parties boycotted the recently held Urban Local Bodies polls. And have announced that they won’t ask their workers and activists to contest the forthcoming Panchayat elections. Nor would they support anyone. But the speculations are rife that NC and PDP don’t want to repeat the mistake which they committed by staying away from the ULB polls. Both the parties have lost control over the municipal committees in J&K and if they stay away from Panchayat polls they would lose control over Panchayats also.
NC and PDP had announced to boycott the ULB and Panchayat polls as a mark of protest against the attempts being made to tinker with the Article 35A, which provides special privileges to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
Only a few days are left for the polling to be held for the first phase of Panchayat polls. The low voter turnout in the ULB polls did put the question mark on the credibility of the corporators, who have been elected. Remarks of the PDP president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that “good people” have not made it to the ULBs had stirred the hornet’s nest.
Peoples Conference is emerging as an alternative for PDP and NC and it has already entered into power echelons by capturing Mayor’s post in Srinagar. Both NC and PDP have a difficult choice to make. Within one month it would be clear who will control Panchayats in J&K, the new faces or the old parties.

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