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J&K announces DDC polls from Nov 28 to Dec 22

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By-polls to 234 vacant seats of ULBs being held simultaneously: CEO

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir poll panel on Wednesday announced an eight-phase election to 20 district development councils (DDCs) in the union territory beginning November 28, in the first major electoral exercise since the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.

The government had in October amended the Jammu and Kashmir 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 union territory.

State Election Commissioner K K Sharma told a press conference here that by-elections to vacant Panchayat and Municipal seats will be held simultaneously.

Sharma also informed that the results of Panchayat by-elections will be declared on the polling day itself.

The notification for the first-phase polling on November 28 will be issued on Thursday, he said.

The last phase of polling will take place on December 19 and the counting of votes will take place on December 22, said Sharma, flanked by Chief Electoral Officer Hardesh Kumar.

The polling hours will be from 7 am to 2 pm for all the eight phases, The SEC added.

After taking into consideration all relevant factors and inputs from various stakeholders, it was decided to hold the election to 20 DDCs — 10 each in Jammu and Kashmir — in eight phases, Sharma said. There will be 14 constituencies in each DDC, he added.

While the election to DDCs and Panchayat bypolls will be through ballot, by-election to municipal seats will be conducted through electronic voting machine (EVM).

This will be for the first time that West Pakistani refugees, Valmikies and Gurkhas will be exercising their franchise in these elections.

Mainstream parties in Kashmir have not yet announced whether their will take part in the electoral exercise.

While DDC polls will be held on party basis, Panchayat bypolls will be on non-party basis, Kumar said.

By-elections will be held in 12,153 Panchayat seats and 234 urban local wards.

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 also informed that expenditure limit for the DDC polls per candidate is Rs 5 lakh, Rs one lakh for Sarpanch seat and Rs 30,000 for Panch seat.

To ensure free, fair and transparent elections, General Observers will be deployed who will keep a close watch on every stage of the electoral process. Sharma also informed that sufficient numbers of ballot boxes have been made available for the smooth conduct of elections.

The Centre has fully applied the 73rd Constitutional Amendment to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which was pending for 28 years. With this, all three tiers of Panchayati Raj institutions will be formed in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time.

Div Coms nominated as liaison officers for elections

Srinagar: The General Administration Department (GAD) on Wednesday nominated Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and his Kashmiri counterpart as nodal officers for smooth conduct of Panchayat and District Development Council (DDC) elections in the Union Territory.

As per the orders, both the officers will be responsible for liaisoning and communicating with the concerned agencies/departments of the Union Territory and the Government of India for arranging air sorties to transport men, machinery and security personnel for smooth conduct of elections to the Panchayats and District Development Councils (DDC) in the UT.

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