BDC polls in J&K on Oct 24; To be held on party lines

Mir Iqbal

Srinagar: The elections for Block Development Council (BDC) in J&K would be held on October 24, Chief Electoral Office (CEO), Shailendra Kumar announced Sunday.
The Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj earlier issued SRO 522 dated 03-09-2019, notifying the Block Development Councils along with their constituent panchayat halqas.
Kumar said elections for chairperson of BDCs shall be held on party lines. One block is taken as a constituency and all the elected panches and sarpanches of the panchayats falling within the block constitute the electoral college for the block.
Out of 316 blocks in the state, Kumar said, two blocks have no elected members and thus will have no elections.
“There are 4 blocks where no women Panch/Sarpanch is available which are reserved for women as per the reservation notification issued by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj”.
As per official figures, Jammu division has 15, 500 panch and 2289 sarpanchs, making for a total of 18, 089 panchayat members. In less than a year since the first tier of the polls were held, 20 panchayat members have died, while as 43 members have resigned.
Elections were not conducted for 103 panchayat members, thus, making a total of 166 vacancies in Jammu division.
Similarly, in Kashmir a total of 7528 panchayat members were elected last year. Elections could not be held for 12054 panchayat seats. 500 panchayat members have resigned, 11 have died, making a total vacancy of 12,565.
In 31 blocks of Ladakh, a total of 1414 panchs and 192 sarpanchs were elected, while polls could not be held for 24 panchayat seats. 19 members resigned, two died- making a total vacancy of 45.
As of today, a total of 12776 panchayat seats are vacant in the state, for which Kumar said, “we intend to conduct the polls as soon as possible”.
Revision of electoral rolls would be done, so that a person who has attained the age of 18 as on January 2020 is eligible for panchayat elections, he said.
The government has announced poll dates at a time when leaders and ground-level workers of the National Conference, the People’s Democratic Party and other political parties in the state are under detention following the revocation of the special status of the state.
Only Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has nominated key functionaries of the party BDC elections to ensure maximum participation of its party members.
Kumar said photo electoral rolls have been prepared by following due process of appointing Electoral Registration Officers and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers for all Blocks.
Each BDC will have one polling station. Accordingly, 310 polling stations have been setup in the state.
With the announcement, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force with immediate effect. All the provisions of the Model Code will apply to all the Panchayat Halqas (Rural Areas) and will be applicable to all the candidates, political parties and the State/Central Government.
Polling hours shall be 9 am to 1 pm, followed by counting of votes and announcement of results on the same day 3 pm onwards.

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