The Kashmir Center

‘Tourism season, security main concern’

Government is “rethinking” about holding of panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir in view of security reasons in the state.
Minister for Panchayati Raj, Abdul Haq Khan told KNS that government was still considering about holding of panchayat polls in J&K.
Government has announced that panchayat elections would be held from February 15. “We are still rethinking on holding the polls,” he added.
Meanwhile reliable sources in the government told KNS that panchayat polls will not be held in the state due to security reasons in the near future. “Polls will not be held from February 15. Government has to make adequate security arrangements for the polls and tourism season does not get affected,” one of the top officials wishing anonymity said.
The panchayats completed their term in July 2016. Elections to panchayats were last held in April-May 2011 during Omar Abdullah led National Conference-Congress regime after a gap of 37 years. The government postponed these polls for several times in the last two years.
Meanwhile, according to reports, PDP-BJP coalition has “mutually agreed that delaying the polls was necessary to avoid deteriorating the situation ahead of the 2018 summer”.
“The Chief Minister has already informed New Delhi about it. The issue was also discussed on Sunday, when BJP’s National General Secretary, Ram Madhav, met with J&K Governor, NN Vohra,” a media report, quoting sources having said.
Opposition as well as the panchayat members of the state recently expressed their apprehensions following separatists’ call for a boycott of the polls and warning by militants.
Earlier this month, an audio clip of a purported conversation between two Hizb militants went viral on social media, in which a commander of the outfit asked the cadres to pour acid into the eyes of the candidates.


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