April 2016 News

Govt Not Keen On Panchayat, Urban Local Body Elections

22 April 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Amir Karim Tantray

Srinagar: After postponing byelection to the Anantnag Assembly seat, the Jammu and Kashmir Government seems to be in no mood to hold elections to urban local bodies and panchayats as no decision in this regard has been taken so far. According to sources, the government has deferred the elections till the end of the Amarnath yatra. It is not clear whether elections will be held after that as the government has not given anything in writing to the office of the Chief Electoral Officer. During Governor's rule, it was decided that urban local body polls would be held in April-May and panchayat elections in June. Once a popular government came in saddle on April 4, the issue was put on back burner. 'We have not received any communication in writing from the government on holding urban local body polls and panchayat elections in the state. We are ready to hold the elections anytime and are only waiting for approval from the state government,' said Shantmanu, Chief Electoral Officer, Jammu and Kashmir. The sources said the government wanted the elections to be deferred. 'Till the time the Budget session of the Assembly and the annual Amarnath yatra end, elections will not be held. A verbal communication has been sent to Chief Electoral Officer and he has been told to put these elections on hold,' said a source. The Centre had put a rider on the release of funds to state government to be utilised through these elected bodies till the elections were held. Funds for this year had been released, but would be given next year only if the elected bodies were in place. The Amarnath yatra will culminate on August 18 (Raksha Bandhan). After that, the harvesting season will begin and the tourist season will be at its peak. Holding elections at that point of time will be difficult.