Decision after HM’s visit to state
The Union Home Ministry has directed the Jammu and Kashmir Government to hold the panchayat elections by January as it will help restore normalcy in the state.
This message has been conveyed to the state government and the revision of electoral rolls has already begun.
Sources said this conclusion was drawn following the last visit of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to the state in early September.
It was observed that the panchayat elections were of paramount importance and this would involve people at grass-roots level with the governance.
“The decision of holding panchayat elections has been taken after talking to other departments in the Union Government after Rajnath Singh concluded his visit to the state.
The state government has been asked to complete the process by January,” said a source.
“Elections can be held anytime in November or December,” the source added.
The panchayat elections in J&K have already been delayed by over a year as these were due in 2016, but due to violence in the Kashmir valley after militant commander Burhan Wani’s death on July 8 last year, they were put on hold.
The Valley witnessed over five-month continuous shutdown after which the government decided to delay the election process.
This year too when the government decided to go ahead with bypoll for Srinagar and Anatnag Lok Sabha seats on April 8 and 11, respectively, the polling for Srinagar was held amid violence, while the election to Anantnag seat was cancelled.
To study the situation on ground and suggest measures to improve the situation, the Union Home Minister held a four-day tour to the state from September 9 to 12.
He interacted with a cross-section of society, including politicians, trade bodies, NGOs and general public, and a conclusion was drawn to hold the panchayat elections.