J&K municipal polls to be held from Oct 8

J&K municipal polls to be held from Oct 8

Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra addresses a press conference as he announces the dates for Muncipal elections, in Srinagar on Saturday. PTI

After years of delay, the urban local bodies polls in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in four phases from October 8-16 and counting will take place on October 20.

“The elections to two municipal corporations, three municipal councils and 72 municipal committees in the state shall be held from October 8 to 16 in four phases,” J&K Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shaleen Kabra said at a press conference in Srinagar on Saturday.

“Individual notifications for each phase of polls will be issued on 18, 20, 22 and 24 September respectively,” he said.

The last elections to the municipal bodies in the State were held in 2005 and their five-year term expired in 2010.

The CEO said the elections will be held through EVMs and suitable number of polling stations have been notified for each ward of the municipal corporations/ councils/ committees.

General observers shall be deployed, one for each municipal body, to ensure free and fair elections, he said. 

On security, a major concern raised in the run-up to the polls, Kabra said, “We are duty bound and we are going to provide an atmosphere to conduct free and fair elections, including adequate security.”

17-lakh voters will elect representatives to 77 municipal bodies in the state including the Jammu and Srinagar municipal corporations.

Despite the major regional parties in the state— the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)— announcing to boycott these polls, the elections will be conducted on party lines.

As NC and the PDP had made it clear that they won’t participate in the poll exercise until the Centre makes its position clear on safeguarding Article 35A, a constitutional provision that bars non-state residents from buying land and applying in various government jobs in the state.

In August, Centre had sought a delay in the date of hearing in the case from the apex court citing the conduct of municipal and panchayat elections in the state.

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