Preparations for polls to local bodies in J&K begin
15 December 2002
The Times of India
Jammu: The PDP-led ruling coalition has begun its preparations for holding elections to Panchayats and local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir, which would also pave the way for filling up of the four vacant seats in the state legislative council. ''We have started our intiatives in the direction of first completing elections to Panchayats and local bodies, which had remained pending, and then filling five vacant legislative council seats through elections'', state rural development minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed said here on Sunday. As per provisions of the state constitution, two members each from Kashmir and Jammu regions are elected to the legislative council through polls in which Sarpanches, Panchs and other local bodies'' members who form the electoral college, take part, official sources said. The four legslative council seats have not been filled since 1978, when last Panchayat and local bodies elections were held in J&K, the sources said. However, this time, the state government is determined to ensure timely completion of the election process. ''By March next, we will complete elections of Panchayats and local bodies, including muncipalities of Jammu and Srinagar'', Peerzada said. Meanwhile, the Mufri government had on Tuesday organised a massive conference of Panchayat members in Jammu in order to strengthen its grasp at the grassroots level and similar meets are expected to take place in Kashmir valley in the near future, official sources said.