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news details
After swearing-in of Governor, J&K local body polls in offing
8/23/2018 10:22:04 PM
Agencies
New Delhi, Aug 23: The process of conducting civic and panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to make headway after the appointment of Satya Pal Malik as the Governor of the state.
Sources have told agencies that the State Election Commission might announce the first notification of urban body polls by the end of this month.
Former Governor of J&K NN Vohra had announced in his Independence Day speech this year that urban body polls will be held in September- October, which will be followed by panchayat polls in November-December.
The previous panchayat polls in the state were held in 2011; urban local body elections have not been held for eight years. While local body polls are not a concern in Jammu, Kashmir might not be immune to violence during polls.
A top official of the central security services told the paper that the template likely to be followed is holding polls first in Jammu and the border regions of Kashmir such as Kupwara and Budgam; and then conduct polling in various districts of Central Kashmir and South Kashmir which happen to be a hotbed of militancy.
An officer was quoted by the newspaper as saying, "While the situation in Srinagar appears normal on the surface with schools and colleges now open, there is no let-up in militant activity and recruitment by terrorist groups. The public sentiment is still averse and given that there will be additional deployment of forces in the run-up to the polling, there is risk of conflict with the locals that may trigger violence. This may disrupt polls and result in poor turnout."
The intelligence has said that the idea behind conducting panchayat polls in November-December is that terrorist activity usually reduces with the onset of winter.
If polls are conducted peacefully, ensuring a decent turnout, it will have a positive impact on the electoral participation during Lok Sabha polls scheduled next year. However, if the Valley witnesses attacks during campaigning or polls, "We may then see a repeat of the 2017 Srinagar by-election which witnessed 7 percent polling", an officer told the paper.
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