Local body elections can be announced anytime now: Sources 

Srinagar: With the state’s Governor NN Vohra promulgating the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 on November 4 this month, the government has begun the process of holding panchayat elections in the state.

According to the sources in Rural Development Department, which is the nodal agency for holding the Panchayat polls in the state, the formalities for the polls have been completed.

“The formalities include publication of rolls, deployment of staff and notification of reserved wards. This entire process has been set into motion and has already been almost completed,” said a senior officer.

Sources said that Mehbooba Mufti government has formally written to state’s chief electoral officer to hold panchayat election in the state. However, no dates have been fixed for the polls.

The Panchayat elections which were scheduled for 2016 were delayed due to the situation that arose after the killing of Hizb militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8 last year.

The government has come with the ordinance so that the elections, already delayed by year and a half, are held without any further delay.

Notably, after concluding his visit to the state in September, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had directed the state government to complete the panchayat election process by January next year.

Meanwhile, after a fresh delimitation, at least 280 new panchayats have been added in the state which takes the total to 4,378. Around 57 lakh people are eligible for voting.

Sources said that no dates have been fixed but the elections are expected to be held in winter itself.

“We have submitted all the details to the concerned authorities (Election Commission). It is up to them now to conduct the elections,” Nirmal Sharma, Commissioner Secretary Rural Development Department, said.

The local body elections were last held in  2011 when Omar Abdullah headed an NC-Congress coalition government in the state.



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