Srinagar: Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra along with senior official addresses a press conference as he announces the dates for Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir, in Srinagar on Monday, Oct 22, 2018. PTI Photo by Umar Ganie
Srinagar, Oct 22: Two days after announcing the municipal poll results, the Chief Electoral Officer, Shaleen Kabra, on Monday announced the schedule for the nine-phase panchayat elections beginning November 17.
Addressing a press conference, the Chief Electoral Officer said the elections would be held for 316 blocks in 4,483 Panchayat Halqas comprising 35,029 Panch constituencies.
“The polling will be held on November 17, 20, 24, 27, 29, December 1, December 4, December 8, and December 11,” he said.
The dates of notification would be October 23, 26, 29, December 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 14, respectively, he said.
The dates of scrutiny of nominations will be October 31, and November 3, 6, 9, 12, 14, 17, 20, and 24.
Kabra said the last dates for withdrawal of candidature would be November 2, 5, 8, 12, 14, 16, 19, 22, and 26.
The number of electorate in panchayat polls, he said, would be 58,54,208.
He said the counting of votes would be done on the day of polling and in some cases, if required, the counting would take place the next day.
The Chief Electoral Officer said the voting would be done with ballot papers.
“In view of recent amendments making direct election to sarpanch, the electors shall cast their votes for panch as well as sarpanch, for which two separate coloured ballot papers will be used,” he said.
He announced that poll timing would be from 8 am to 2 pm and entire polls process would be completed by December 17.
Asked about the reduction in polling time, he said there would be less voters in panchayat polls than the urban local body elections.
For the panchayat polls, he said that ballot boxes are being brought from Haryana.
About the apprehensions about security being raised by the aspiring candidates, he said, “Appropriate security arrangements are being put in place to ensure peaceful elections.”
CEO admits media barred from entering polling booths
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Oct 22: Chief Electoral Officer, Shaleen Kabra, on Monday said media was barred from entering the polling booths in the recently concluded municipal elections to not put the voters to “unnecessary disadvantage”.
Kabra said special cards were issued by his office for the media men to cover the elections.
“The media people can visit any polling booth. But sometimes, they are barred not to put the voters into unnecessary disadvantage,” Kabra said.
In the urban local bodies elections, the media personnel were not allowed to go inside the polling booths at various places.
Chief Electoral Officer said 178 wards were left vacant in the urban local bodies.
“Separate elections will be held for the vacant wards,” he said.
Asked about low voter turnout, he said he was not the appropriate person to put this question to.
“We made all the arrangements and asked people to vote. Why people did not turn up should not be asked to me.”
The four-phase urban local body elections were held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16.
The overall poll percentage of all phases across the state has been 35.1 percent. Jammu recorded a voter turnout of 68.4 per cent, while in Kashmir it did not cross double digits in any of the phases.
Model code of conduct to continue
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Oct 22:The Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shalin Kabra has said that the model code of conduct that came into effect since the start of Local Body Polls will continue till the completion of the Panchayat Polls.
An official order said, consequent to the above, the following instructions are hereby issued for strict compliance by all the Administrative Secretaries, Heads of Departments, District Development Commissioners and District Superintendents of Police:
(i) There shall be a ban on the transfer of officers/ employees who are connected with the conduct of Panchayat Elections – 2018 till the completion of the electoral process. However, in cases where the transfer of an officer/ official is considered absolutely necessary in public interest, the concerned Administrative Secretary may approach the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K with full justification and obtain prior clearance before issuance of any such order.
(ii) All officers/ officials involved in the conduct of Panchayat Elections including Designated Police Officers shall be under the administrative control of the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K for superintendence and discipline.
Further, all the District Election Officers (Deputy Commissioners) and District Superintendents of Police are enjoined upon to strictly adhere to the instructions issued by the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K from time to time in order to ensure free and fair elections.