No panchayat polls for now, says J&K

first_imgThe Jammu & Kashmir Government has expressed unwillingness to hold the much-delayed panchayat polls before August 2018. It is also pushing for holding by-polls to the solitary Anantnag Lok Sabha seat only next year due to the “prevailing security scenario”.An official at Raj Bhavan said Governor N.N. Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met on April 17 in Srinagar and held “an elaborate discussion over the long-pending elections to urban local bodies and Panchayats”.Ms. Mufti, according to official sources in the Chief Minister’s office, has termed the current situation “unfavourable for panchayat polls”. She suggested they could be held after the Amarnath Yatra, which will end on August 26 this year. “Tourism remains a priority for the government. We want a healthy tourist season before we decide on holding panchayat polls,” said a senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader.Sources said the yatra will allow the State government to mobilise more paramilitary troops to J&K and “will be followed up by additional deployments from outside the State for the panchayat polls”.Volatile timesMs. Mufti shelved the panchayat polls scheduled in February, a decision forced by a worsening law and order situation and increasing encounters between militants and security forces in south Kashmir, which also resulted in civilian casualties.J&K held its first panchayat polls in 2011 after a gap of four decades and witnessed 80% turnout to fill seats in 4,378 Panchayats.last_img

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