Local bodies’ term ending soon amid uncertainty over Assembly elections
The NC and PDP had boycotted the ULB polls in J&K, citing threat to J&K’s special status.
SRINAGAR: Even as the uncertainty over the Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir continues, the tenure of panchayats and urban local Bodies (ULBs) in the Union Territory is coming to an end by the end of this year and it remains to be seen whether the polls to local bodies will be held before or after the Assembly polls.
The five-year term of urban local bodies is ending in November this year. While the term of Srinagar Municipal Corporation will end on November 5, the Jammu Municipal Corporation’s term is expiring on November 14.
The five-year term of municipal councils and committees will also come to end in October- November this year. Polls to urban local bodies in J&K were last held in October 2018 during Governor’s rule. The NC and PDP had boycotted the ULB polls in J&K, citing threat to J&K’s special status.
Ten months after holding of ULB polls, the Centre scrapped J&K’s special status and bifurcated the J&K state into two Union Territories. The five-year term of panchayats is also coming to an end in December this year. The panchayat polls were held in November-December 2018 on a non-party basis.
With no clarity on holding of Assembly polls in J&K, the question mark also looms over holding of panchayat and ULB polls in the UT. However, All J&K Panchayat Conference chairman Shafiq Mir said the panchayat polls are most likely to be held in December this year.
“After the extension of 73rd Constitutional amendment in the Panchayat Raj Act to J&K, it is mandatory for the government to hold the panchayat polls after the expiry of the term of the panchayats. There is a constitutional binding on the government to hold panchayat polls after the expiry of the term of panchayats,” he said.
Mir, however, said there is confusion as the second and term tiers of panchayat (BDCs and DDCs) tenure is not ending this year. “The BDC’s tenure will end in 2024 and DDC’s term will end in November-December 2025”.
“The Panchayat Raj Act says that the government has to complete the election exercise of all three-tier in 40 days. There is a possibility that the BDCs and DDCs may also be dissolved for holding the simultaneous panchayat polls,” he said. Political observers said there is a probability that the government may go for panchayat polls followed by ULB polls to feel the mood of the people.
Polls to urban local bodies in J&K were last held in October 2018 during Governor’s rule. The NC and PDP had boycotted the ULB polls in J&K, citing threat to J&K’s special status. Ten months after ULB polls, the Centre scrapped J&K’s special status