HM Amit Shah to hold important meeting on Sept 26; Govt. proposes ULB, BDC, DDC polls should be held like Panchayat polls; Assembly polls in J&K to be held after culmination of other polls; Govt. eying on good voting percentage in LS polls; Appointment of new DGP for J&K likely will also be discussed in the meeting
Srinagar, Sept 24: The government at the Centre in consultation with UT administration is mulling to defer Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The polls, as per reliable sources, will likely be held after Parliamentary elections which are expected to be held in April – May 2024 next year.
Sources told Kashmir News Service (KNS) that the Government at the Centre are in consultation with J&K administration whether to hold ULB polls in the UT by the end of this year or not? They said the Central government is in the opinion that ULB elections in the Union Territory of J&K will be extended to the next year after Parliamentary polls are held. They added that ULB being a grassroots level exercise needs wide security arrangements than Parliamentary polls.
“The ULB polls require wide security arrangements than LS polls which are expected to be held in April – May 2024. This election is an exercise of door-to-door outreach which needs adequate security measures. The New Delhi is in the consultation with J&K administration about arrangement required for the smooth conduct of ULB polls. However the reports dispatched by security agencies to Ministry of Home Affairs recommend that ULB polls are no way possible this year and thus should be deferred till 2024,” sources said.
They added that security agencies have got credible leads that terrorists might show their presence and carry out attacks on security forces and civilians in the upcoming months in order to force people to stay away from any democratic exercise. “After Rajouri, Kokernag and Srinagar attacks, security forces have been put on alert. They have got credible leads that terrorists might strike in coming months. So in order to avoid risk the security agencies have written to MHA, requesting reschedule of ULB polls in the UT,” he said.
The security agencies, as per source don’t want to slash down the percentage of voters in LS Polls if ULB polls will not be rescheduled.
Providing details, the sources informed KNS that once Parliamentary polls are over, all elections in the Union Territory of J&K will be held as per the sequence. “First ULB, then Panchayat, BDC and DDC polls will be held,” he said and added, “The assembly elections in the UT will be held till all polls are culminated smoothly”.
On September 26 the Union Home Minister Amit Shah has convened an important meeting of northern zone States and UTs which include J&K, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and New Delhi to review the security scenario in a candid talk with respective officials. Sources told that Lieutenant Governor J&K Manoj Sinha, Chief Secretary Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, DGP Dilbagh Singh and other top officers of the J&K administration have been invited in the meeting. Besides deliberating on other issues, the HM Amit Shah will get first hand information from J&K officials about prevailing security situation in the UT.
The sources said that the meeting will discuss security situation emerged after encounters recently took place in Rajouri and Kokernag areas.
As per sources, there is a proposal before the central government to hold ULB, BDC and DDC elections like Panchayat poll pattern in which people have right to elect their local representatives. “Like other States and UTs of the country, the ULB, BDC and DDC polls will be conducted with the same pattern in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier Panchs and Sirpanchs were electing BDCs and BDCs were electing DDC. Now there will be an amendment and people will be given right to elect their DDCs and BDCs. Also Mayor’s for Srinagar and Jammu cities will also be elected by people,” sources said.
It is pertinent to mention that all regional and national level political parties including BJP had geared up their public outreach program across J&K soon after Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha mentioned that ULB polls will be held by the end of this year. However with the deferment of ULB polls in the UT, it is being said that political activities in the region will see a drastic curtailment.
The sources informed that in 26th September meeting which is being chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah, the appointment of new DGP likely for J&K will also be discussed. (KNS)