J&K Panchayat Elections to Start from April 13

Jammu
J&K Panchayat Elections to Start from April 13
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
The three-tier panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in 16 phases, starting April 13, the state election department said today.

"The 3-tier panchayat elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir in 16 phases, commencing on April 13. It will conclude on June 30 with the notification of all Sarpanches and Panchs duly elected," Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the election department, B R Sharma, told reporters here.

He said the notification for panchayat elections was issued by the state government today and phase-wise polling will be done at the level of blocks, which will be considered as the units instead of districts for security reasons.

"First notification for polls in the first phase in six blocks of Bishnah (Jammu), Samba (Samba district), Kangan (Ganderbal), Budgam (Budgam district), Quimouh (Anantnag/Kulgam) and Udhampur (Udhampur district) will be issued on March 18 and polls will be held on April 13" Sharma said.

Earlier Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Ali Mohammad Sagar told reporters that the government has issued a notification for holding three-tier Panchayati polls in the state. "We want the democracy to strengthen at the grassroots, so we have taken steps in this direction."

All the formalities have been completed and for the first time elections for 3-tier panchayats will be conducted on non-party basis, he said.

"The government is also setting up separate Finance Commission and Election Commission for Panchayats for which the bills will be tabled in the ongoing Assembly session," he said, adding that 33 per cent reservation for women will be ensured, besides for SCs and STs.

CEO Sharma said 5068975 electors will exercise their right of franchise in 143 blocks to chose 4130 Sarpanchs and 29719 Panchs in Jammu and Kashmir in over 33,000 polling stations. Elaborate security measures have been done and the para-military forces and police will be used for ensuring free and fair elections. "No additional troops will be brought from outside the state," he said.

The polling would be done through ballot boxes against Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used the Assembly elections.

He said Jammu and Kashmir has 6000 ballot boxes and approximately 8,000 ballot boxes will hired from Punjab at Rs 10 per day per ballot box.

CEO Sharma, who is also holding the post of Home Commissioner, said second phase notification will be issued on March 22 and polls will be held on April 17 in 7 blocks of R S Pura (Jammu), Vijaypur (Samba), Chenani (Udhampur), Nagam (Budgam), Lar (Ganderbal), Uri (Baramulla), Wavoora (Kupwara).

Similarly, polls would be held on April 21 for the third phase, April 25 for the fourth phase, April 30 for fifth phase, May 4 for sixth phase, May 8 for seventh phase, May 12 for 8th phase, May 16 for 9th phase, May 21 for 10th phase, May 25 for 11th phase, May 29 for 12th phase, June 2 for 13th phase, June 6 for 14th phase, June 11 for 15th phase and June 18 for 16th phase. The counting and announcement of the results would be done on the day of polling, he said.

The compiling and notifying the names of elected Sarpanchs and panchs will be done in accordance with the provision of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act 1989 and be decided by June 30, 2011.

Sharma said Model Code of Conduct come into force with effect from today and all political parties in the state have decided over the issue even the elections are fought on non-party basis.

The last panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir were held in 2001 after a gap of 23 years through secret ballot as against the hand raising procedure which was followed in earlier elections. The term of the panchayats completed in June 2006.
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