Municipal Council Sopore without president

The Municipal Council Sopore continues to remain without president after a successful no-confidence motion was moved by majority of the councilors over a month ago.

However, the failure of the authorities to issue fresh election notification despite passage of more than a month has surprised many who term the stalemate as a non-serious approach of the authorities towards the urban area of Sopore town.

The post of the president Municipal Council Sopore fell vacant after majority of the councillors moved a successful no-confidence motion against the former Municipal Committee Sopore president, Abdul Ahad Khan on January 18.

The elections for the 13 vacant wards of Municipal Council Sopore were held in December 2020 and National Conference bagged 10 seats while 2 independent candidates and a PDP candidate also registered their victory.

As per the Municipal Council Act, Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, who is also the district election officer had to issue a fresh election notice so that election for the president took place.

However, there has been no communication from the district election officer Baramulla over the issue, resulting in uncertainty.

Masrat Kar, one of the elected councillors from Sopore said that Sopore Municipal Council is the only council in Baramulla where ambiguity over the authority of issuance of fresh election notification had surfaced.

She said that the district authorities were seeking clearance over their authority to issue fresh election notification after the successful no-confidence motion was moved while the Municipal Council Act clearly states that it is the District Election Officer who has to issue the fresh election notification after a successful no-confidence motion is moved.

“In Srinagar Municipal Corporation and other municipal councils of Jammu and Kashmir, several no-confidence motions were moved and fresh elections conducted, but for Sopore Municipal Council the yardstick is different. Why are election authorities seeking clarity over their authority to issue fresh notification although the Municipal Council Act 2000 is clear about it,” said Kar, an elected ward member.

The Director Urban Local Bodies Kashmir in its communication to the District Election Officer Baramulla has also sought immediate election for the post of Municipal Council Sopore president.

“The Municipal Council Sopore president’s seat has fallen vacant due to the no-confidence motion passed by the majority of elected councillors of Municipal Council Sopore. It is as requested that necessary process for initiating fresh elections for the seat of the president and vice president be initiated as per the Municipal Council Act 2000 and by-laws 2005,” reads a communication issued vide no DULB/CC/1284/21/234950 dated 10 December 2021.

Some of the elected councillors claimed that the issue was deliberately being kept in abeyance and the purpose seemed to break a particular group of councillors, and ensure advantage to a particular party.

“By keeping the issue lingering, the authorities are disrespecting the mandate of the people of Sopore,” said a councillor.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Director Local Bodies Riyaz Ahmad said that after the successful no-confidence motion, issuing fresh election notice was the prerogative of the District Election Officer Baramulla.

“As per the Municipal Council Act, the District Election Officer Baramulla has to issue the fresh election notice,” he said.