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After 9 Years, Panchayat Polls to be Held in Jammu and Kashmir as PM Modi Follows Vajpayee's Footsteps

Panchayat elections for 4,130 sarpanch and 29,719 panch constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir were last held in 2011 after a gap of nearly four decades when a record 80% people voted despite the 2010 unrest, in which more than 130 protesters were killed.

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Updated:August 15, 2018, 9:51 AM IST
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After 9 Years, Panchayat Polls to be Held in Jammu and Kashmir as PM Modi Follows Vajpayee's Footsteps
PM Narendra Modi at Raj Ghat on Wednesday
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New Delhi: After a hiatus of two years, Panchayat Elections will be held in the restive state of Jammu and Kashmir soon. This announcement was one of the many highlights of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at Red Fort on Wednesday after he announced that the government will continue to follow former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s vision for peace and hold the local elections in the state.

Panchayat elections for 4,130 sarpanch and 29,719 panch constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir were last held in 2011 after a gap of nearly four decades when a record 80% people voted despite the 2010 unrest, in which more than 130 protesters were killed. The elected Panchayats completed their term in June 2016.

The polls to the local bodies were supposed to be held in 2016 but could not be conducted due to the five-month-long unrest in the Kashmir Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8 that year.

The then PDP-BP coalition government headed by Mehbooba Mufti had announced in December last year that the panchayat polls would be held from February 15, 2018 on non-party basis. The polls, however, were again postponed due to adverse security situation in most parts of Kashmir. The decision had put the ruling Peoples Democratic Party at odds with its alliance partner BJP — the only major party in the state that wanted the polls to be held as scheduled.

Last year, the Anantnag parliament by-elections were cancelled after large scale violence and an embarrassing five per cent voter turnout in Srinagar Parliamentary by polls.

Earlier, the National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah had said the state was passing through a tough phase and the time was not right to conduct panchayat elections.

Omar Abdullah had also said “rural and urban local bodies elections may have extreme repercussions of halting every other election process in the state in the future.”
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