J-K: Municipal poll dates announced, EVM to be used for first time

J-K: Municipal poll dates announced, EVM to be used for first time
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Srinagar: Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, announced the dates for municipal elections which will be held in 4 phases in the state.

Announcing the dates and timings of the poll, Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra said, “We shall be starting the local bodies election for municipal bodies first and then the Panchayat election. The municipal election shall commence with the issuance of the notification, the first notification will be issued on 18th September. Municipal Elections shall be held in 4 phases. Date of polling would be October 08, October 10, October 13 and October 16. The timings for the poll will be from 7am to 2pm.”

J-K chief electoral officer also informed that the counting will be taking place on October 20 at the respective district headquarters after all the phases are over.

He also asserted that with this announcement of schedule, the moral code of conduct comes in place and it will be expected that the candidates, political parties, state and centre would follow what is prescribed in the moral code of conduct.

Sharing details of municipal bodies he said, “There are 79 municipal bodies with a total number of 17 lakh voters.”

In a major development, Kabra also announced that in these municipal polls, first-time electronic voting machines are being used, in accordance with the rules that have been amended in 2016.

In another first, Election commission is also providing voting by the migrants by means of postal ballots. Since the migrants continue to be enrolled in the respective assembly constituencies from which the municipal committees or panchayat’s would derive the rolls, therefore the facility will be provided for them to vote.

Chief Electoral Official also elaborated on the wards reserved during the elections and said, “Out of 1145 wards which are there, 90 wards have been reserved for Scheduled Castes, 38 Scheduled Tribe, 31 and 13 reserved for women in these respective categories whereas 322 wards have been reserved for women belonging to open category.”

He also informed that municipal elections will be followed by panchayat elections, details of which will be announced on Sunday, 16th September.

He also said that Election Commission has taken necessary security review in this matter and we have satisfied that the measures are being taken by the police and security forces to ensure that the elections are conducted.

National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had already announced that they will not be taking part in the upcoming electoral exercise.

However, on September 13, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah clarified that his party has not asked the general public to stay away from voting in the upcoming municipal and panchayat elections in the state even though his party would boycott the polls.