Despite the boycott by the two main political parties the National Conference ( NC) and the People’s Democratic Party ( PDP) Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir Shaleen Kabra has announced that Panchayat elections in the state would be held in nine phases, from November 17 to December 11, between 8 am and 2 pm. With the announcement of the Panchayat elections schedule, the Model Code of Conduct is already in place.
Addressing a press conference here, Kabra said that polls would take place on November 17, 20, 24, 27 and 29 and on December 1, 4, 8 and 11. The counting of votes would take place on the day of polls.
Voting would be held through the use of ballot paper, the CEO said adding that additional ballot boxes would be provided by neighbouring states. The final electoral rolls would be released by September end.
According to Kabra, there are 4,500 panchayat halqas in the state in 316 blocks and 35,000 panch constituencies, with a total of 600 to 700 voters in most places. Therefore, Kabra noted, there would not be a requirement for more than one polling station per constituency. Voters would be facilitated with voter slips which would be in both Urdu and English to guide them.
The CEO also said that migrant Kashmiris could cast their votes through posting ballots. In the elections, general observers, expenditure observers and micro observers would also be appointed and all critical events would be filmed, he added.
Regarding the phasing of districts, the CEO informed that the Kashmir division would go to polls in nine phases. In the first phase, Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Srinagar, Leh and Kargil would go to polls, while the second phase would be held in Anantnag, Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bagdum, Ganderbal and Ladakh.
In the third phase, elections would be in districts of Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara, Budgam, Ganderbal, Leh and Kargil, Kulgam and Shopian. In the fourth and the fifth phases, all districts except for Srinagar would go to polls.
In the sixth phase, people would vote in Anantnag, Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Srinagar, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian while the seventh phase would witness voting in Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara, Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, Budgam and Ganderbal.
In the eighth and ninth phases, elections would be held in all nine districts, including Bandipora, Baramulla, Anantnag, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian.
Elections in the Jammu division would be held in eight phases.
On Saturday, Kabra announced four-phased municipal elections in the state. Elections would be held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16. The counting would take place on October 20.