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Will Kashmir’s local body polls give rise to a new breed of politicians?


Srinagar, Oct 3: It is a big event, but the campaign has been a relatively quiet one. The focus of the entire machinery is to ensure that local and urban body polls in the state of Jammu and Kashmir passes off peacefully.

The polls scheduled for October and November has been marred by controversy relating to Article 35 A of the Indian Constitution. Both the main players in the state, National Conference and PDP pulled out of the elections over the issue.

Will Kashmir’s local body polls give rise to a new breed of politicians?

The fight is now between the BJP, Congress and a huge number of independents. While the campaign so far has been low-key, there is no dearth of candidates. Scores of youth have thrown their hat into the ring and would be contesting as independents.

Also Read | J&K local body polls: Ex-militant is now BJP candidate from Srinagar

So far there are around 851 candidates who have filed their nominations for the seats in the 598 wards and 40 municipal bodies in the Valley. Across the state there are 1,145 seats to contested in the 79 municipal bodies and there are 3,005 candidates in the fray.

However in nearly 60 per cent of the wards in the Valley, there would be no contest. In around 172 wards in the Valley no nominations have been filed. In another 190 wards just one nomination has been filed as a result of which there would be no voting. The case is similar for the 40 municipal bodies in the Valley. There will be no voting in 21 bodies.

In Srinagar, 310 candidates have filed their nominations for the 74 wards.

Also Read | J&K civic polls: Kashmiri migrants can vote, says election office

Officials say that this time around there are several new faces in the fray as the field has been left empty with both the NC and PDP pulling out. There are several young faces contesting the polls as independents and one would witness a new breed of politicians in the state. Some also do not rule out the fact that these could be proxy candidates.

The campaign has however been a subdued one. There is a large threat looming over the elections by terror groups. The fact that the NC and PDP have pulled out has taken the sting out of the elections.

The candidates have been advised to maintain a low profile and not speak with the media. The election buzz is missing and the campaign trail has not been able to hit the streets in a big way.

Also Read | J&K civic polls to begin from Oct 8; Counting on Oct 20

It would be interesting to see how many independents would make their debut at the local bodies spread across the state. The Congress and the BJP along with Sajad Lone's Peoples Conference are leaving no stone unturned.

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