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Panchayat by-polls hit a roadblock
2/19/2020 8:03:12 PM
The forthcoming Panchayat by-polls have hit a road block even before the process could commence. The elections have been deferred as the security agencies have not given the clearance. The crux is that for time being these elections won't be held.
Prior to the decision to postpone the Panchayat by-polls Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shailendra Kumar, held an All Party Meeting in Jammu to discuss the pros and cons of the proposed elections. All the parties barring BJP expressed their reluctance to join the poll fray citing different reasons.
National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party demanded that their top leadership should be released before these by-polls are held so that they can nominate the people whom they want to contest. Congress and Panthers Party also didn't show much inclination for the reasons best known to them. After the CEO met the representatives of all the parties, the J&K administration announced that Panchayat by-polls stand postponed. The recent by-poll notification, which was issued last week had stated that elections will be held on party basis for electing more than 11000 sarpanchs and panchs in different places in the newly carved out union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Security agencies raising a red flag could be one of the reasons but it seems that the administration also took a strong note of feedback provided by the political parties as these elections were to be contested on the party basis. Any democratic process remains incomplete without the participation of the political parties and it seems that this factor compelled the administration to defer the polls for time being. Kashmir centric parties, NC and PDP, had boycotted the Panchayat polls held in the erstwhile State of J&K last year. They had termed the exercise as futile. Nearly after a year these parties seem to be desperate to participate in these elections but with a rider that the detained leaders, i.e. the three former chief ministers and few others who have been booked under the Public Safety Act should be released forthwith. It looks like that the government wants to give it a thought and these leaders could be released before Panchayat by-polls are announced again. There seem to be a possibility about Jammu and Kashmir administration extending an olive branch to the detained Kashmir centric leaders. However, no one can predict how these leaders will behave after they are released from the detention.
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