After more than seven months since the contentious Article 370 – giving special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir— has been scrapped from the Indian Constitution, and the state has been divided into two Union Territories, elections are going to take place in the region next month.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer, Shailendra Kumar informed that Panchayat elections on the vacant seats will be conducted in eight phases in the region in the month of March for which the ballot boxes will be used.

Giving breakage of the eight phases of the election, he told, “The first phase of elections will be held on March 5, second phase on March 7, third phase on March 9, fourth phase on March 12, fifth phase on March 14, sixth phase on March 16, seventh phase on March 18 and the eighth phase on March 20.”

“For Jammu division, elections will be held in four phases, while for the Kashmir division, it will be held in eight phases,” he added.

As the schedule of the election has been declared, the CEO told that the Model Code of Conduct is enforced and it will be implemented in all the phases where elections are being held.

However, no election will be conducted in the Ladakh region as no request for the same has been initiated by the authorities there.

“Union territory of Ladakh has not sent us a request of elections so we have not included Ladakh. In any case, Ladakh is snow-bound and it is very cold out there, so it is not feasible to have an election at this point of time,” Kumar said.

As reported by NDTV, nearly 13000 panchayat seats are set to go to the polls during the elections. This number holds the 60 per cent share of the seats available in J-K panchayats.

In the last Panchayat election held in 2018, two key political parties in the state, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) did not participate. The election was boycotted in Kashmir valley leaving a major chunk of seats vacant in panchayats.

This time again, the declaration of the schedule of the elections has come amid the leader of the two aforesaid political parties – Addullas and Mehbooba Mufti – are under house arrest since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019.