J&K Panchayat polls: Fully prepared, voters are enthusiastic says official
Jammu, Nov 17: There is enthusiasm among the voters in Jammu and Kashmir, an official said as the polling in the Panchayat elections is set to begin.
Dr. Manhas R K, the returning officer said that there is enthusiasm among the voters. We are fully prepared and the entire exercise will pass off peacefully, he also added.
The Panchayat polls on non-party basis will be held in nine phases in 316 Blocks in 4483 Panchayat Halqas comprising of over 35 Thousand Panch Constituencies.
The authorities in Jammu & Kashmir have put in elaborate security and logistic arrangements to conduct the maiden phase of the elongated panchayat polls on Saturday.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer, 427 candidates are in the fray for 536 Sarpanch Halqas and 5,951 candidates for 4,048 Panch wards in the first phase of the Panchayat polls.
Polling will be held in seven districts of Jammu division, six districts of the Kashmir Valley and two in Ladakh. The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was imposed on September 16 continues to remain in force.
The total number of electors in the State is over 58 Lakh. Ans 54 thousand who are eligible to cast their votes in Panchayat Elections.
Baramulla district: 148 candidates are in the fray for 63 Sarpanch Halqas and 630 for 497 Panch wards. Eleven candidates for 15 Sarpanch Halqas and 21 for 105 Panch wards in Ganderbal district, six candidates for five Sarpanch Halqas and nine for 45 Panch wards in Srinagar and 35 candidates for 26 Sarpanch Halqas and 124 for 222 Panch wards in Budgam district are contesting the polls in the first phase.
Kargil: 51 candidates for 23 Sarpanch Halqas and 225 for 179 Panch wards, while in Leh, 64 candidates for 32 Sarpanch Halqas and 207 for 226 Panch wards are in the fray, the officials said.
Kishtwar: 107 candidates for 50 Sarpanch Halqas and 494 for 358 Panch wards are in the fray, the officials said, adding that 190 candidates for 52 Sarpanch Halqas and 626 for 364 Panch wards are in the fray in Doda district.
The officials said 89 candidates for 27 Sarpanch Halqas and 337 for 195 Panch wards in Ramban district and 162 candidates for 42 Sarpanch Halqas and 779 for 332 Panch wards in Udhampur district are contesting the polls.
Kathua: 114 candidates are in the fray for 29 Sarpanch Halqas and 450 for 209 Panch wards, while 121 candidates for 35 Sarpanch Halqas and 469 for 253 Panch wards in Rajouri district.
The officials said 162 candidates for 53 Sarpanch Halqas and 736 for 419 Panch wards in Poonch district are contesting the polls.
The last Panchayat elections in the State were held in 2011 after a gap of 20 years and Panchayats completed their term in July 2016. In 2011, when elections were last held in the state, there were 4,098 panchayats. However, new delimitations have added 280 new panchayats to the list, taking the tally to 4,378. The number of panch segments has gone up by about 4,000, taking the total number of panch constituencies to 33,402. There were 29,402 panch segments in the state prior to delimitation.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has deferred the hearing on these petitions till January next year keeping in view the State Government plea to defer the polls after the conduct of municipal and Panchayat elections.
The panchayat elections will be held on November 17, 20, 24, 27, 29, December 1, 4, 8 and 11. Counting will take place on the day of polling. Votes will be cast using ballot paper, said Shaleen Kabra, J&K Chief Electoral Officer.