Home Minister Rajnath Singh Monday requested all political parties to participate in the Municipal and panchayat elections scheduled to be held in Jammu and Kashmir. Singh who is on a day-long visit to Jammu said, “I would like to appeal that all the political parties should participate in the political process. This will provide an opportunity to them to interact with the people.”
Both National Conference and People’s Democratic Party have announced a boycott of the polls unless the Centre cleared its stand on Article 35-A, which extends constitutional protection to Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. Though the Congress is yet to take a final decision on participation or otherwise in the polls, it has said the situation is not conducive for holding polls. Calling the elections a “futile exercise,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “If two political parties don’t participate, that is not fair and just and that is not good.”
Despite the boycott call by two political parties, the state election commission announced that the elections will be held as per schedule in Jammu and Kashmir. The panchayat elections will be held in nine phases in November. The first phase will be held on November 17, three weeks after the completion of all formalities for the municipal elections.
The voting will next take place on November 20, 24, 27 and 29 and December 1, 4, 8 and will end with the last phase on December 11. Polling will be held through the ballot to elect representatives to 4,500 panchayat constituencies in 316 blocks. Counting will be held on the same or the next day, according to election commission officials. The last panchayat elections in the state were held in 2011.
Voting for the municipal elections, which will take place in the state after 13 years, will be held in four phases, on October 8, 10, 13 and 16. Votes will be counted on October 20, and the election process will be completed on October 27.