Panchayat Elections: Development or Delusion

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Mehtab Ali

Srinagar 26 Nov (KNB): Voting for the Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir began on Saturday after a gap of seven years. The election will continue for eight more phases until 11 December. While as the PDP, NC boycotted the panchayat elections due to the legal challenge to Article 35-A of the constitution in thr supreme court. The last election was held in 2011 .

A very low percentage of voting was witnessed during the recent municipal elections but votes casted in panchayat polls are surprisingly higher than ULB election. The process of panchayat election is important for the development of villages if worked properly.

The bodies elected during such polls must work on providing the essential services and facilities to the rural population. The Panchs receive funds from higher bodies to let them execute plans for the development of basic public facilities and their maintenance.

Meanwhile, according to officials, 427 candidates are in the row for 536 Sarpanch Halqas and 5,951 candidates for 4,048 Panch wards for the first phase of the panchayat polls. Next polling will be held on 20, 24, 27 and 29 November and 1, 4, 8, 11 December. The poll hours would be between 8 am to 2 pm .The entire polls processes would be completed by 17 December, according to reports.

However, the Panchayat elections were conducted smoothly so far despite a complete boycott and shutdown call given by JRL on Saturday. Almost three panchayat ghar were set ablaze before the said polls to ensure no participation in the ongoing polls. In the wake of this electoral process, high alert security was implemented and mobile internet service was reduced to 2G in the polling areas. (KNB)

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