Jammu, Feb 16: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar on Saturday issued the first notification for conducting an eight-phase by-election for panchayat polls to elect 12,650 sarpanches and panches, an official spokesman said here.
According to the notification, the last date for nominations is February 22 followed by scrutiny of the submitted nominations on February 24 and withdrawal of candidature on February 26, the spokesman said.
He said the polling, if necessary, will be held from 9 am to 1 pm on March 5 and the counting of votes will be taken up on the same day unless notified otherwise.
The date before which the election shall be completed has been fixed as March 26, the spokesman added.
He said the notification has been issued for 24 blocks spread over 10 districts of Kashmir valley and 53 blocks in six districts of Jammu division.
This will be the first major electoral process to be carried out in the region since the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir in August last year.
The last elections to the panchayats were held in November-December, 2018 in which 22,214 panches and 3,459 sarpanches were returned elected by the respective returning officers out of 33,592 panch and 4,290 sarpanch constituencies in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Further vacancies have accrued on account of deaths and resignations of the elected sarpanches and panches. Also, as a result of elections of chairpersons to BDCs in October last year, another 307 seats of panches and sarpanches fell vacant.
On February 13, the CEO issued a schedule for elections to 12,650 constituencies including 1,011 sarpanches and 11,639 panches covering 274 out of 285 blocks in all 20 districts of the UT.
The eight phase elections would be held on March 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20.
In Jammu division, the poll process to fill 306 vacancies of panches and sarpanches will be over in the first four phases while it will go on in all eight phases in Kashmir, where the elections to a total of 887 vacant panchayat halqas and 11,457 vacant panch constituencies of 128 blocks would be conducted.