SHOPIAN: Panchayat elections in Shopian saw a repeat of what transpired during the municipal elections: nothing. Not a single vote was cast in elections for 98 Sarpanch seats and 791 Panch seats in the district. Nevertheless, 34 Sarpanch seats and 111 Panch seats duly got occupied: by candidates who were declared “elected unopposed”. The identity of these candidates is still not known.
District Panchayat Officer Shopian, Riyaz Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that he can’t disclose the identity of the candidates due to security reasons. On the total number of electors in the district, he said he would have to check the details first.
Officials said that just like in the municipal polls in October, there was no need to conduct elections as there was no one to oppose the candidates. It is a testimony to the indifference, or boycott, shown by people towards these elections that only in 111 of the 791 Panch constituencies did anyone bother to accept the open offer of a free, uncontested seat.
One reason also is the unabated violence this year that has seen 85 persons, including civilians, militants and policemen, being killed, often gruesomely. Shopian is now considered the centre of the homegrown “new wave of militancy” which earlier was centred in Tral area of Pulwama district.
Official figures for the panchayat elections say that in Keller block of Shopian district, 29 Panch candidates and 11 Sarpanch candidates were elected unopposed, against the available 172 Panch seats and 22 Sarpanch seats.
In Shopian panchayat block, 3 Sarpanchs and 9 Panchs were elected unopposed in the total 12 Sarpanch and 107 Panch halqas.
In Kanjiular panchayat block, 1 Sarpanch and 6 Panchs were elected unopposed in the total 6 Sarpanch and 48 Panch halqas.
In Ramnagri block, 3 Sarpanchs and 11 Panchs were elected unopposed in the available 8 Sarpanch and 56 Panch seats.
In Chitragam block, 5 Sarpanchs and 17 Panchs were elected unopposed in the total 11 Sarpanch and 71 Panch halqas.
In Kapran block, 1 Sarpanch and 5 Panchs were elected unopposed out of 8 Sarpanch and 62 Panch halqas.
Harmain panchayat block saw 2 Sarpanchs and 7 Panchs getting elected in the total 9 Sarpanch and 72 Panch halqas.
The Imam Sahib block saw 4 Sarpanchs and 11 Panchs elected in the total 11 Sarpanch and 95 Panch seats.
Zainpora panchayat block now has 4 Sarpanchs and 16 Panchs, elected unopposed, among 11 Sarpanch and 89 Panch halqas.