- The elections will be held in four phases through October 8 to 16
- The electoral process will be held from 7 am to 2 pm, reported ANI
- EVMs will be used for the first time in the state civic body polls
The municipal body elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in four phases through October 8 to 16, State Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra announced on Saturday.
The polling dates are October 8, 10, 13 and 16, and the votes would be counted on October 20. The electoral process will be held from 7 am to 2 pm, news agency ANI quoted Mr Kabra as saying.
Mr Kabra said that the notification for phase 1 of the municipal polls will be issued on September 18, and those for the second, third and fourth on September 20, 22 and 24 respectively. This is the first time electronic voting machines or EVMs will be used for civic polls in the state. Moreover, the election body has provided migrants with the option of voting through postal ballot.
According to Mr Kabra, as many as 17 lakh voters are registered for the municipal polls.
Previous reports had suggested that the municipal body elections could be deferred in view of two major regional parties -- the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) -- threatening to withdraw from the fray. They had refused to participate unless the Centre came clear on safeguarding Article 35A, a constitutional provision that defines "permanent residents" of the state. The PDP had said that holding the elections at this juncture would be a "mockery" of the democratic process.
But the Government stuck to its stand, with State Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam assuring the media that the schedule will remain as planned. "There will no change in dates... Three weeks from now we will have urban body elections and on the first week of November, we will have panchayat elections," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also declared in his Independence Day speech that the state local body polls would be held "in the coming months".
Jammu and Kashmir came under Governor's Rule in June, after the BJP pulled out of its ruling alliance with Mehbooba Mufti's PDP over ideological differences. Two months later, Satya Pal Malik replaced NN Vohra as the administrative head of the troubled state.
Separatists in the Valley have asked the people to boycott the municipal as well as the panchayat polls.