Jammu, Nov 4 (IANS) The first ever elections to district development councils (DDCs) in Jammu and Kashmir were announced on Wednesday.
Announcing this at a press conference here on Wednesday, state election commissioner K.K. Sharma said the DDC polls will be held in eight phases beginning November 28 and will conclude on December 22.
He said elections to the vacant seats of sarpanchs, panchs and urban local bodies will be held simultaneously with the DDC polls.
“Polling will take place through EVMs and postal ballots will be available for Covid-19 patients in isolation, senior citizens and physically unwell patients.
“Electoral rolls used in sarpanch and panch elections which have been updated on January 1, 2020 will be used for DDC polls. Model code of conduct comes into force from Wednesday. The first formal notification for the first phase will be issued on Thursday.
“Delimitation has been done and 280 DDC constituencies have been identified across the J&K UT. The term of the DDC will be five years,” Sharma said.
He said expenditure limit for the DDC polls has been fixed at Rs 5 lakh, while for sarpanch and panch elections, it will be Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000, respectively.
In a significant development, Sharma said that West Pakistan refugees will be entitled to exercise their franchise during the DDC elections for the first time.
Before the special status of J&K was revoked, thousands of West Pakistan refugees could not vote in panchayat, urban body or state Assembly elections.
They could, however, vote for the Lok Sabha elections. Now that Article 370 has been revoked, these refugees will vote in every democratic exercise in J&K.
Sharma said each district in J&K has 14 constituencies. Based on the feedback from various security agencies, proper security mechanism will be put in place throughout the course of these elections.