Panchayat Elections: Schedule framed keeping in view weather, situation
Srinagar, October 30: The panchayat elections in most of the volatile areas of Kashmir will be held in the last phases after polls in relatively-calm and upper areas. The nine-phase panchayat polls in the state to 316 blocks in 4,483 Panchayat Halqas comprising 35,029 Panch constituencies will be held from November 17. The polling for the next eight phases will be held on November 20, 24, 27, 29, December 1, 4, 8, and 11. As per the schedule, the snow-bound and far-flung areas are going for polls in the first two phases in November. An official at Chief Electoral Office said that authorities want to complete the elections to consider the difficulties faced by people living in snow-bound areas and to ensure maximum participation. “We have taken into consideration about the possibility of weather condition after November 15,” the official added. In the first two phases, the elections are going to be held in areas, which face harsh winter even during November like Keran, Ramhal, Tarathpora, Teetwal, Tangdar, Kalaroos, Machil, Rajwar, Kralpora, Gurez, Tulail, Kunzer, Uri, Drass Lungnak, Barsoo. The polls will also be held in Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh region in first phases. “There are many areas which remain cut off during winters. We have taken all ground realities into consideration as during November, the climate remains intensely cold there,” the official said. At the same time, most of the areas where there is a larger presence of militancy will face elections in the last phases. As per the schedule, the elections in Hajin, Sopore, of north Kashmir and south Kashmir areas like Newa, Dadsasa, Shadimarg, Shopian, besides various volatile areas, will be held in the latter phases. A police official said that security agencies do not want to take any chances that could disturb further situation in south Kashmir. “The polls in most of the volatile areas are to be held in latter phases till all arrangements are made,” the official said. Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, Muneer Ahmad Khan, has said that providing security for panchayat polls was more challenging than the urban local bodies elections. “In panchayat polls, the areas are spread more than urban local bodies elections. But we are prepared for it,” Khan said.