Jammu & Kashmir Panchayat Elections 2018 Schedule: Polling to be Held in 9 Phases From November 17 to December 11; Voting Through Ballot Papers
File image of voters participating in the J&K assembly elections of 2014 | (Photo Credits: PTI)

Srinagar, Sept 16: The State Election Commission (SEC) on Sunday announced the final schedule of panchayat elections in Jammu & Kashmir. J&K SEC chief Shaleen Kabra said the polls will be held in nine phases, beginning from November 17 to December 11.

Voting would be conducted through ballot papers only, the chief electoral office clarified, adding that the votes would be counted on the day of polling. Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Elections 2018 Schedule: Polling to Be Held in 4 Phases, Counting to Take Place on October 20.

The announcement by SEC comes a day after it declared the final dates of urban local body elections, which will be held in four phases from October 8-16. The results of the same would be declared on October 20.

In the panchayat polls, a total of 4,130 sarpanch, 29,719 panch and 1,145 ward commissioners will be elected. The last panchayat elections in the state was held in 2011. Although the fresh elections were due in 2016, the then state government was forced to defer due to the widespread unrest in the Valley following the death of militant Burhan Wani.

Notably, the two major regional parties - People's Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) - have announced boycott of the civic polls, claiming that "environment is not conducive for the electoral process". The two parties have blamed the Centre for fanning unrest in the region by raking up the sensitive issues of Article 35-A and Article 370 -- which guarantees the special status of Jammu & Kashmir.