December 2019 News

After LG's Announcement, Admn Gears Up For Zila Parishad Elections In J&K

21 December 2019
The Tribune
Dinesh Manhotra

Jammu: Within days after Lt-Governor Girish Chandra Murmu announced to set up the three-tier Panchayati Raj system in J&K, the administration of the Union Territory (UT) of J&K has kick-started the process to hold Zila Parishad elections. On Tuesday, Murmu had announced that the District Planning and Development Boards would be constituted for decentralised planning and development. Besides, the Zila Parishad elections would also be conducted in due course of time. With this, the three-tier structure of the Panchayati Raj system would be completed in J&K. Sources said the authorities had directed all district officers of the Election Department to initiate the process for holding the Zila Parishad polls. 'Within hours after the L-G's announcement, we have received communication from the higher-ups to start the election process,' a source in the district administration said, adding that the Zila Parishad elections would be held in J&K for the first time, so the authorities had to contact some neighbouring states where the three-tier system was already functional. While meeting with a BJP delegation one month back, the Lt-Governor had made it clear that the priority of the administration was to hold the Zila Parishad elections to establish three-tier Panchayati Raj system in J&K like other parts of the country. Although the administration of the newly created Union Territory (UT) of J&K had already started 'homework' for the Zila Parishad elections, the Lt-Governor's announcement has further authenticated that the authorities have geared up to strengthen democratic institutions at the grass-roots level. First time in the history of J&K, the BDC elections were held on October 24 this year, thus completing the second tier of elections of the Panchayati Raj institutions in J&K. During the BDC elections, the authorities had announced that they would be followed by the Zila Parishad polls to complete the process. Out of the 316 blocks, the elections for the chairpersons of 280 BDCs were conducted, while 27 BDC members were elected unopposed. The poll percentage for the 10 districts in the Kashmir region was 93.65 per cent and for the 10 districts in the Jammu region 99.4 per cent. Smelling that the UT administration is going to conduct the Zila Parishad elections soon, the BJP on Thursday convened a meeting of BDC chairpersons belonging to the party to devise a strategy for the polls. After facing humiliating defeat in the BDC elections, boycotted by the Congress, NC and PDP, the BJP is desperately trying to lure elected BDC chairpersons to get a respectable share.