Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Elections 2020 to Be Held in March Using Ballot Boxes, First Political Exercise Since Article 370 Was Scrapped
Representational Image (Photo Credits: PTI)

Srinagar, February 13: Elections for around 13,000 panchayat seats in Jammu and Kashmir union territory will be held in March, the first major polls after the Centre scrapped Article 370 which gave special status to the erstwhile state and split it into two union territories- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The Panchayat polls will be held using ballot boxes. The polling will be conducted in eight phases from March 5 to 20. Jammu & Kashmir's Ex-CMs Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti Booked Under PSA.

"Panchayat elections for vacant posts of every block will be held. Ballot boxes will be used. It will be conducted in eight phases. The model code conduct has come into forces in Jammu and Kashmir," J&K Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar. Jammu & Kashmir: Omar Abdullah, Detained Under PSA, Faces Charge of 'Garnering Votes Even During Peak Militancy'.

The first phase of elections will be held on March 5, the second phase on March 7, third phase on March 9, fourth phase on March 12, fifth phase on March 14, sixth phase on March 16, seventh phase on March 18 and the final phase on March 20.

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The announcement comes at a time when opposition leader and three former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti remain in detention.

The local body posts are vacant since November 2018 when the elections to local bodies were held. The 2018 polls saw poor participation as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) had boycotted it.

Jammu and Kashmir is currently being governed by Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu who was appointed by the Centre to look after the union territory (UT). The UT status also means that the law and order will be handled by the Centre.