State Election Commission announces 8-phase maiden DDC polls in J&K from November 28

File Photo of State Election Commissioner K K Sharma

State Election Commissioner K K Sharma on Wednesday announced the first ever District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir in eight phases from November 28.

He also said that elections for the vacant seats of sarpanchs and panchs and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) will also be held simultaneously with the DDC polls.

Addressing a press conference in Jammu, Sharma said that first ever elections for the DDCs will be held from November 28 and will conclude on December 22.

He said the vacant sarpanch and panchayat seats will be filled along with the DDC polls, reported news agency KNO.

Sharma said that polling will take place through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) while postal ballots will be available for Covid-19 patients in isolation, senior citizens and physically unwell patients.

He said that electoral rolls used in Sarpanch and Panch elections that have been updated on January 1, 2020, will be used for the DDC polls.

“With the announcement of DDC polls, the model code of conduct is in vogue from today onwards. The first formal notification for the first phase of elections will be issued tomorrow,” Sharma said. Pertinently, the State Election Commissions was constituted recently. KK Sharma, who was advisor to LG Manoj Sinha, and was appointed first Election Commissioner of State EC.

He said delimitation has been done for the constituencies and 280 DDCs have been identified across the J&K UT. “The term of the DDC will be for five years,” Sharma said. He said that West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs) will also be entitled to exercise their right to vote for the first time. “Each DDC in J & K has 14 constituencies,” Sharma said.

He said that polls will also be held subsequently for 228 vacant seats of ULBs. Sharma said that after taking feedback from various security agencies, a proper security mechanism will remain in place and “all concerns have been taken into consideration.”

He said that the expenditure limit for the DDC polls per candidate is Rs 5 lakh, one lakh for Sarpanch seat and Rs 50,000 for Panch seat.