JK to go for LC polls today

After 33 Years, 33,540 Panchayat Representatives To Vote For 4 Reserved Council Seats


Srinagar, Dec 2: Stage is set for the polling for four seats, reserved for Panchayat Representatives, of Legislative Council slated for Monday. The elections for these seats are being held nearly after 33-years.
 JK’s Chief Electoral Officer Umang Narola while talking to Greater Kashmir said all the arrangements including security have been finalized at the polling booths for smooth conduct of the elections.
 At least 33,540 Panchs and Sarpanchs which form the Electoral College for the elections- 13678 Panchs and 1950 Sarpanchs in Jammu and 15767 Panchs and 2145 Sarpanchs in Kashmir region would cast their vote to elect the four representatives to the Upper House.
 Although 37 candidates are in the fray, the polls are expected to be a direct contest between the National Conference-Congress coalition and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP, BJP and NPP are contesting all the four seats.
 The coalition partners National Conference and Congress would be contesting the polls jointly on two seats each. They have fielded two candidates each, one each in Kashmir and Jammu.
 While some newly formed associations of Panchs and Sarpanchs have decided to contest the polls independently, a breakaway faction has decided to support the government.
 Minister of State for Home, Nasir Aslam Wani said the required men and machinery have been dispatched to the polling stations. “We have taken all the measures to ensure that there is no untoward incident,” Wani said.
 He said the divisional and district administration at both Jammu and Kashmir were closely monitoring the situation.
 Secretary Legislative Council, Muhammad Ashraf said last time the elections for two reserved seats for Panchayat representatives were held in 1980 when Hakim Habibullah and Peer Abdul Gani were elected from north and south Kashmir.
 Although the 2011 Panchayat elections were fought on a non-party basis, various political parties, including the Congress, the NC and the PDP, had fielded candidates in those elections. The PDP has publicly claimed that more than 50 percent of the Panchs and Sarpanchs were on its side.
 National Conference and Congress, on the other hand, made similar claims based on the data collected by Rural Development Department.
 An official said though any person eligible for contesting any election under Representation of People's Act (RPA) can contest this election, candidates of Jammu division cannot compete for the reserved two seats for Kashmir division and vice versa.
 He said each Panch and Sarpanch would have to cast two votes each for two candidates.
 In the 36-member house four berths are reserved for Panchayat's and two for urban local bodies.
 Twin berths for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) were filled in October 2005 after ULB elections were held in January 2005 after a gap of 26 years.
 ULB elections were not held despite these being due since February 2010 and the seats in the Legislative Council are lying vacant.
 The campaigning for the polls ended on Saturday. Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has urged the elected Panchayat representatives of the Valley to boycott the polls.
 The polls are going to be a challenge for the state government in view of the recent attacks on the Panchs and Sarpanchs. At least six elected representatives have been killed by unknown gunmen after the Panchayat elections were held in 2011. The state government had blamed militants for the killings.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 3 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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