Srinagar: As many as 11,639 Panch and 1,011 Sarpanch seats that went uncontested when elections were held in November 2018 in Jammu & Kashmir, the administration has finally decided to begin preparations for holding elections for them once again.
A government order issued on Tuesday constituted a 14-member panel and two divisional-level committees to hold elections for the vacant seats.
The elections in November 2018 were themselves held after a delay of two years. In the elections 22,214 Panchs and 3,459 Sarpanchs were elected amid a boycotted by the valley’s main regional parties, the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party.
“Based upon an assessment of manpower, security, logistics, transport, equipment and all other requirements, the Divisional Level Committees shall submit an outline of the possibilities and constraints to the apex committee. The report shall be submitted by September 21,” the government order said.
Led by Principal Secretary, Home Department, the committee will frame a schedule as to when Panchayat and Block Development Council (BDC) elections will be held. The Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj will observe the entire process.
This will be the first major political development in J&K post abrogation of the state’s special status last year. The region has since been under lockdown, first to prevent protests, and then to scuttle the spread of coronavirus.
It remains to be seen whether the NC and PDP will participate in the fresh elections or not.