Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in nine phases between November 17 and December 11, J-K Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra said on Sunday.
In November, the polls will be held on 17, 20, 24, 27 and 29, and on 1, 4, 8 and 11 in December. Votes will be cast using ballot paper and the counting process will also take place on the same day, said Kabra.
On Saturday, Kabra announced the dates for the municipal polls, which will take place in the state after 13 years. The announcement came days after the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) announced that they would boycott the panchayat and municipal polls over Article 35-A, which is pending with the Supreme Court. Both the parties asked the Centre to clear its stand on the issue and also take “effective steps” to protect it.
NC leader Farooq Abdullah, announced earlier this week that NC will not participate in the polls “unless and until the Government of India and state government clears its position, and takes effective steps to protect Article 35 A in and outside the court”.
PDP also distanced itself from the elections, soon after. “The situation created by linking panchayat polls with the case pending in Supreme Court on Article 35-A has created apprehension in the minds of the people, who see an assault on the special constitutional position of the state…It was felt that any attempt to impose any electoral exercise in the current atmosphere of fear and apprehension would seriously erode the credibility of the process… It (conducting elections) would defeat its very purpose,” PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said.