October 2018 News

J&K Panchayat Polls To Be Held From November 17

22 October 2018
The Week
Tariq Bhat

Srinagar: The panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held from November 17 in nine phases. The announcement was made by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra at a press conference in Srinagar on Monday. He said elections will be completed in nine phases with a pause of two to three days. 'Candidates can file their nominations from September 23,' he said. Ballot papers will be used in the polls to elect 4,483 sarpanchs and 3,508 panches as was done in municipal polls. Voting will commence at 8am and close at 2pm. Kabra said the code of conduct that commenced on September 16 will stay effective. The Centre and state had mobilised 60,000 paramilitary forces and 15,000 police personnel for the municipal polls that ended on October 16. They would now be deployed for the security of panchayat polls across the state, mostly in Kashmir where militants have warned of action against those contesting the elections. The Army is also kept on standby. According to police sources, guarding the candidates is a daunting task as not enough personnel are available to guard each of them. In south Kashmir, many panchayat ghars and offices have been attacked and burnt by unknown persons who support the militants' and separatists' call for the boycott of polls. In the recently concluded urban local body polls, Kashmir region witnessed less than five per cent polling, while Jammu recorded an impressive turnout. The overall percentage in the UBL polls was recorded at 35 per cent. The security forces fear that candidates for panchayat polls will be most vulnerable to militant attacks in south Kashmir's Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam.