Srinagar, Sept 16: After taking into consideration all relevant factors and inputs from various stakeholders, the election authority is likely to conduct the polls for vacant Panchayat seats and Block Development Councils in Jammu and Kashmir in next two months.
If the polls take place, it will be the first elections in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into union territories on August 5 last year.
A top government official said the elections to about 13,000 vacant posts of panch and sarpanch in gram panchayats and the BDC elections are likely to be held in the next two months.
“If all goes well the entire election process is expected to be over by the end of this year,” he said.
Sources said the Government of India (GoI) and J&K government is very keen to hold these elections.
The posts are lying vacant since November 2018 when the elections to the local bodies were held.
Out of Kashmir’s 20,093 panch and sarpanch seats, more than 12,500 seats are vacant.
The 2018 polls to the local bodies had witnessed poor participation with two major regional political parties — the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — boycotting it.
The by-election to more than 12,500 panchayat seats was scheduled to be held in eight phases from March 5 this year, however the elections were postponed due to security reasons.
The BJP is the only party in the state that backs elections at this time. The other parties including National Conference and People’s Democratic Party have opposed holding polls.
The Election Commission on several occasions had said it would announce elections in the state after it received a green signal from both the Centre and the state government on the law and order situation.
Jammu and Kashmir has not had an elected government since the PDP-BJP coalition government fell apart in June 2018.
The government has constituted an Apex Level and two Divisional Level committees to conduct preparatory work for bye-elections for Panchayats and Block Development Councils (BDC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Apex Level Committee will draw a roadmap and detailed schedule for conduct of elections to vacant panchayats and BDCs across J&K. (KINS)