Union Home Ministry has ordered the deployment of 49 additional battalions of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in J&K in the wake of the upcoming Panchayat and District Development Councils elections, official sources said.
They said the deployments are being moved from various states to J&K and concerned quarters have been asked to make the arrangements including the desired scale of arms and ammunition, special anti-riot equipment and winter clothing.
Special emphasis has been laid on providing protective body gears in wake of cold climate in the Valley, the sources told news agency GNS.
State Election Commission has already announced an eight-phase poll to twenty DDCs and vacant Panchayat and municipal seats, in the first major electoral exercise since the nullification of Article 370 in August last year which saw the communication clampdown and detentions of hundreds of political leaders and workers.
The government had in October amended the J&K Panchayati Raj Act to provide for setting up of District Development Councils in each district which will have directly elected members, marking the implementation of the entire 73rd Constitutional Amendment in the J&K.
The votes in the first phase would be cast on November 28 and the last phase of polling would take place on December 19. The counting of votes would take place on December 22.
While the election to DDCs and panchayat bypolls will be through ballot, byelection to municipal seats will be conducted through electronic voting machines (EVM).
All mainstream parties in Kashmir have announced to take part in the electoral exercise and most of them are fighting under the banner of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD). While DDC polls are being held on the party basis, panchayat bypolls are on a non-party basis. The PAGD has said that its candidates would use symbols of respective parties.
Besides 20 DDCs—10 each in Jammu and Kashmir, elections for 12,153 vacant panchayat seats and 234 urban local wards are being held across J&K.