Over 8 phases, will end on Dec 22, along with polls for vacant panchayat, urban bodies’ seats
Srinagar: The State Election Commission on Wednesday announced the first District Development Council (DDC) elections in J&K, which will begin in eight phases from the last week of this month. The elections will be held alongside polls for vacant seats of sarpanchs and panchs and Urban Local Bodies.
State Election Commissioner KK Sharma said the elections will begin from November 28 and will end on December 22.
The polling will take place through Electronic Voting Machines and postal ballots. The later facility will be made available to Coivd-19 patients. Electoral rolls updated till Jan 2020 will be used for the DDC polls.
Sharma said that the model code of conduct has come into force for the local elections.
The elections will be the first major political process initiated by New Delhi ever since it removed the special status of J&K and downgraded it into two union territories. All changes made to laws related elections since then will be implemented in these elections.
The delimitation has been done for the constituencies, and West Pakistan Refugees will take part in the elections for the first time in J&K. Regional political parties have been raising their voice against both the moves. Now, the regional parties are caught in a Catch 22 situation. If they participate in the polls, it will be seen as their acceptance of the post-August 5 situation, and if they don’t, the ground will be left open for the BJP. What they will likely do is to contest through proxies.
Sharma announced that there will be fourteen DDC constituencies whose heads will have powers equal to that of a Minister of State.
The elections to DDCs is a process that has been pending since the 73rd Constitutional Amendment was made in 1992. The holding of these elections will make the Panchayat Raj System complete in JK.
A cap of Rs 5 lakh has been put on the DDC polls’ candidates to spend on election expenses, while it is Rs 50 thousand for Sapanch and Panch candidates.
The results will be announced on December 22.