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Panchayat polls in J&K postponed over security threat

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GR News Desk | Srinagar

The Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir government asked the Election Commission to postpone the Panchayat polls that were initially scheduled from March 5 in the newly-formed Union Territory.

The Panchayat elections were supposed to be held in eight phases in Kashmir and four phases in Jammu to fill 1011 sarpanch and 1639 panch vacancies. The Congress party and National Conference (NC) had both conditionally decided to participate in the polls asking to release their leaders and ensure their free movement. Meanwhile, NC demanded the removal of roadblocks.

The Jammu and Kashmir Block Development elections were held on October 24 and the results were declared in the evening. While independent candidates won 217 seats, the BJP and Congress candidates won 81 and 1 seats respectively, while the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party won eight. This was the first electoral exercise in the region since the revocation of Article 370 on August 5 and registered a historic voter-turnout of 98.3%.

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The elections were scheduled in Kashmir amid the detention of mainstream political leaders after placing the region under lockdown since the abrogation of Article 370 on august 5.

The J&K administration slapped the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) against former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah. NC patron and five-term chief minister Farooq Abdullah’s detention was extended by three months, after being charged on August 5.