September 2018 News

State To Go Ahead With Civic Elections

10 September 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)

Jammu: Unfazed by the decision of the two main parties of the state to boycott the civic elections, the state administration has decided to go ahead with the poll process. Governor Satya Pal Malik announced last night that the elections would be held on schedule. In an interview to Doordarshan, he stated that there would be no change of mind on holding the elections to rejuvenate the grass-roots democracy in Jammu and Kashmir. He said he did not subscribe to the idea that the contest over Article 35A in the Supreme Court had anything to do with the elections. The Governor's stand was reaffirmed by Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam on Monday. On the sidelines of a function in south Kashmir, Subrahmanyam told reporters that the 'poll process is on'. The Chief Secretary said: 'The panchayat elections are on, urban local bodies polls are also on.' He elaborated by saying that a 'decision was taken in July. Voter list drafts have been printed and finalised, and in few days' time, the actual notification will be issued by the Chief Electoral Officer.' According to him, panchayat elections would be held around November 5. The statements of the Governor and the Chief Secretary indicate that state administration will not reconsider any change in the poll schedule against the backdrop of boycott announcements made by the National Conference and the PDP. The parties have said that they would not take part in the elections until the Centre and the state cleared their stand on Article 35A of the Constitution. The Article, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court, grants special privileges of to the permanent residents of the state. The state had sought deferment of the hearing in the light of the upcoming elections. Both Kashmir-centric parties NC and PDP have said that this plea has given rise to confusion and fears over the special status of the state.