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J&K Panchayat bypolls to be held from March 5

As the first political exercise in J&K since the withdrawal of special status and the carving out of two Union territories of J&K and Ladakh, the joint chief electoral officer of J&K, Shailendra Kumar, said all security arrangements to conduct peaceful elections were in place and the model code of conduct came into force on Thursday.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 15, 2020, 09.58 PM IST
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J&K: CEO issues first notification for conduct of panchayat bypolls
J&K: CEO issues first notification for conduct of panchayat bypolls
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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration announced on Thursday that the panchayat by-elections for around 13,000 vacant seats in the newly-formed Union territory of J&K would be held from March 5 this year. It will be held in eight phases in Kashmir and four phases in Jammu. Ladakh has been excluded from this exercise as no request has come from the UT administration.

The elections have been announced at a time when leaders of the two main regional parties –– National Conference’s Omar Abdullah and People’s Democratic Party’s Mehbooba Mufti –– have been detained under Public Safety Act.

This is the first political exercise in J&K since the withdrawal of special status and the carving out of two Union territories of J&K and Ladakh. The joint chief electoral officer of J&K, Shailendra Kumar, said all security arrangements to conduct peaceful elections were in place and the model code of conduct came into force on Thursday.

The NC and PDP had boycotted the 2018 panchayat elections, when 83.5% turnout was recorded in Jammu division while Kashmir Valley, which also included Ladakh then, recorded 44.4%.

“Even in 2018, all the candidates were affiliated to party or ideology,” said Kumar.

The CEO informed that the elections would be held in 1,011sarpanch and 11,639 panch seats across J&K, excluding some snow-bound areas, for which the schedule would be announced later.

As per official data, 11,457 panchs and 887 sarpanch seats are vacant in Kashmir, while 182 panch and 124 sarpanch seats are vacant in Jammu division.

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