Panchayat, local body polls are on: J&K chief secretary

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Srinagar: The panchayat and the local body polls in Jammu and Kashmir are on despite the boycott by the two main regional parties, state Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said on Monday.

His comments come on a day the Peoples Democratic Party said it would boycott the elections, saying the security situation was not conducive for holding these polls.

The party’s decision comes days after its arch-rival, the National Conference, announced its decision to boycott these elections until the Centre and the governor administration clarify its position on Article 35-A, which gives special rights to the people in the state.

“Panchayat and local bodies polls are on. The decision was taken in July,” Subrahmanyam told reporters when asked if the polls would be postponed.

He said the process of issuing notification for the polls would begin within a week. “For the urban and local bodies polls, the voter-list drafts have been published and the delimitation and reservation of constituencies has been done. The actual notification will be issued by the CEO (chief electoral officer, J&K) in a few days.”

A month after that, the CEO will notify the dates for the panchayat polls. He is just waiting for notifying the dates for urban and local bodies polls, the chief secretary added.

Asked about the security scenario, K Vijay Kumar, the adviser to Governor S P Malik, said it was being reviewed based on the requirements and there would be a flexible plan based on the dynamics.

Subrahmanyam and Kumar visited the south Kashmir districts of Kulgam, Shopian, Anantnag and Pulwama to have first-hand appraisal of the scenario and ensure on-spot redressal of public grievances, an official said.

Baseer Ahmad Khan, divisional commissioner, Kashmir; Muneer Ahmad Khan, ADGP (law and order); and S P Pani, IGP, Kashmir; accompanied them, the official added. PTI