The election department on Tuesday sounded the bugle for the urban local bodies poll by issuing a notification for the conduct of elections to 422 municipal wards to be held in the first phase on October 8.
Of the 422 municipal wards, 175 are in the Kashmir division while the remaining 247 are in the Jammu division. There are a total of 79 municipal corporations, councils and committees in J&K. The elections are being held in four phases.
“The last date for filing nominations for the elections to 175 municipal wards of the Kashmir division, including three in the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and 49 wards in conflict-hit south Kashmir, and 247 municipal wards in Jammu, including 75 wards of Jammu Municipal Corporation, will be September 25. The polling will be held on October 8,” Shaleen Kabra, Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, said in the notification.
The scrutiny of nominations will be held on September 26. The last date for withdrawal of candidature is September 28.
According to the department, there are a total of 1,145 wards in 79 municipal corporations, councils and committees in the state. The total number of voters for the civil poll is 16.97 lakh across the state.
Of the 1,145 wards, 90 wards are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 38 wards are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes. In addition, 322 wards are reserved for women belonging to the open category.
For the first time, the electronic voting machines will be used during the poll. The last municipal elections were conducted in January-February 2005 and ballot boxes were used at that time. The last elected municipal bodies had completed their five-year term in March 2010.
“All critical events will be videographed. The deputy commissioners concerned, who are also the district election officers, have been directed to arrange sufficient number of video and digital cameras for the purpose,” a senior official of the election department said.
Jammu Deputy Commissioner Ramesh Kumar, in a formal interaction with mediapersons, said the model code of conduct had come into force and election observers would keep a close watch on election expenditure of the candidates. “In Jammu district, the elections to 154 municipal wards will be held at 584 polling stations on October 8. All political parties will have to adhere to the model code of conduct strictly,” he said, adding “All hyper-sensitive and sensitive polling stations, particularly in the areas close to the International Border, are being identified”.