Jammu and Kashmir to hold Panchayat bypolls for over 12,000 seats

The seats remained vacant after PDP and NC boycotted the local body polls in 2018

Representational photo

The administration of Jammu and Kashmir has decided to hold bypolls for almost 12,000 panchayat or local body seats, in March, ANI reported.

The by-election will be conducted in eight phases and will involve the use of ballot boxes.

“Panchayat elections for vacant posts of every block will be held using ballot boxes. It will be conducted in eight phases,” said Shailendra Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir.

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The panchayat polls will be the first political exercise in the union territory since the abrogation of Article 370, stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its special status, in August 2019. Two union territories Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were carved out of the state.

The valley is now under the rule of the centre, which has appointed GC Murmu as the Lieutenant Governor to manage its affairs.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC), the two prominent political parties of Jammu and Kashmir had boycotted the panchayat polls in 2018 over the issue of special status. This led to 12,000 seats lying vacant in the valley.

The election comes in the backdrop of restrictions in the valley and the detention of prominent political leaders like Farooq Abdullahm his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.