Panchayat polls: 97.60 per cent seats vacant in Kashmir alone

Of 12650 seats, 12344 in Valley, 306 in Jammu

Srinagar, Feb 14: Of the total Panchayat constituencies going to polls next month in the Union Territory of J&K, 97. 60 percent are alone in Kashmir, official figures reveal.

According to details available with the wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), 12650 vacant Panchayat seats will go to polls in eight phases from March 05 to March 20.

This will be the first massive political exercise in Kashmir after abrogation of the Article 370 by the BJP-led Central government. The electoral exercise is being conducted at a time when top mainstream leaders including three ex- Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and, Mehbooba Mufti are under detention. Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone is also under house detention at Church Lane, Sonawar.

According to figures, 12344 vacant seats are in ten districts of Kashmir and 306 in 10 districts of Jammu region. As per figures available with the KNO, 793 such seats are in Kupwara , 2311 in Baramulla,648 in Bandipora, 726 in Ganderbal, 164 in Srinagar, 2098 in Budgam, 1588 in Pulwama, 815 in Shopian, 1071 in Kulgam and 2130 in Anantnag.

These seats remained mostly vacant due to non-availability of candidates during the 2018 Panchayat polls conducted by Governor Satya Pal Malik-led administration.

National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party had boycotted the electoral exercise, citing “repeated assaults” by the Centre on Article 35A.

In Jammu region, 19 seats are vacant in Kishtwar, 33 in Doda, 29 in Ramban, 31 in Udhampur, 23 in Reasi, 38 in Kathua, 25 in Samba, 40 in Jammu, 42 in Rajouri and 26 in Poonch, the data reveals.