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J&K Block Development Council polls on October 24

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar addresses a press conference in Srinagar on September 29, 2019.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar addresses a press conference in Srinagar on September 29, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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The much-awaited elections will see 26,629 elected Panchs and Sarpanchs elect 310 Block Development Chairpersons in the first phase. This will be followed by polls for 22 District Level Chairpersons for the District Development Boards. The results will be declared on the same day.

 

In a major push to emancipate new grassroots-level leadership in Jammu & Kashmir, the government on September 29 announced the polls for the Block Development Councils (BDCs) on October 24 across the State.

“Every District Development Board will have these elected BDC chairpersons as members, besides MLAs and MPs. At the district level, these Chairpersons have an important role in the development work of the district under the Panchayat Raj Act 1989 and rules of 1996,” said J&K Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar.

The much-awaited elections will see 26,629 elected Panchs and Sarpanchs elect 310 Block Development Chairpersons in the first phase. This will be followed by polls for 22 District Level Chairpersons for the District Development Boards. The results will be declared on the same day.

“Whenever any candidate or political party approaches us for facilitating a level playing field, we are here to facilitate it,” Mr. Kumar said.

Panchayat elections were held in J&K in November 2018, and were boycotted by the two main regional parties — the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party — over the issue of Articles 370 and 35A. The elections assume significance with all the top leaders of the regional party remaining under detention after the August 5 decision to revoke J&K’s special status.

The elections, which will empower grassroots leaders, will create a new political class in J&K. An official said a Block-level Chairperson will have a Block Development Officer as his secretary and the District Development Board Chairperson will work closely with the District Deputy Commissioner in implementing and allocating money for development work at the district and Block levels.

The government has reserved 172 seats for Schedule Tribes and Schedule Castes. Also, 33% seats have been earmarked for women Panchs and Sarpanchs.

“Of 316 Block elections, two Blocks — one in Kulgam and one in Srinagar, have no elected panches or sarpanches. There are four blocks where no women panches and sarpanches are available for reserved seats. Thus, there shall be no elections there,” said Mr. Kumar.

Fresh polls in 24% vacant seats

Meanwhile, the government said there were 12,776 vacant seats in J&K.

“We have to prepare fresh electoral rolls before holding polls for the vacant seats. There will be around 2% new voters. Unless they are there, we can’t have fresh elections,” said Mr. Kumar.

Mr. Kumar said two panches, one in Baramulla and one in Kupwara, have been detained under Section 107 during the recent clampdown.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 3:42:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jk-block-development-council-polls-on-october-24/article29549725.ece

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