28th August 1997
Hindustan Times Correspondent
SRINAGAR: The panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir have been deferred until the revision of voters lists in the State. Earlier. the Government had announced that these elections would be held in October this year.
The issue came up during zero hour in the State Legislative Assembly today. Several members wanted that the elections be postponed till the voters list, which they alleged were full of irregularities. are not revised and rectified.
It was raised by BJP's Shiv Charan Gupta and then thread was picked up by several National Conference members. The members said that it would be against the democratic spirit if the new voters were not included in the voters list.
At this the consensus of the House was sought. The leaders of the Congress particularly Ms Mehbooba Mufti. Janata Dal Dillwar Mir and BSP's Ram Chand wanted the original schedule to be adhered to. The Agriculture Minister Abdul Rahim told the members that if voters list is to be revised the panchayat elections would be delayed by eight to nine weeks.
Several National Conference members wanted the polls to be deferred. The Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah shared their concern and said that the House should resolve for postponement of panchayat polls. Accordingly, the members with voice vote gave a consent to this move.
Later, a bill on the constitution of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Council was referred to a select committee of the House after the National Conference MLAs moved amendments and said there were other equally backward and God forsaken areas like Doda and Kupwara which also require such status.
Initially, the Chief Minister wanted the members to help him in passage of the bill as the Presidential notification under which the council was currently working in Left would expire on Oct 2. He later agreed with the suggestion that the House may have a special session to discuss and debate the bill.