Municipal and Panchayat elections

Formal process for conducting Municipal Body and Panchayat polls has begun by the State Government announcing their schedule which will be like holding of these elections in four and eight phases respectively. Dates of all the phases are shortly going to be announced by the Chief Electoral Officer. The decision to this effect was taken in the meeting on August 31, of the State Administrative Council (SAC), chaired by Governor Satya Pal Malik, the first after assuming charge.
It may be recalled that groups of Panchs drawn from many villages from Jammu and Kashmir had been meeting the Prime Minister in the very recent past expressing their desire to see elections held to Panchayats as early as possible as their grants in crores of Rupees had been blocked . Since at the grass root levels, developmental activities are shaped and actively executed from villages by the elected representatives like Panchs and Sarpanchs and the funds for such works are directly given to elect Panchs, the Government decided to go ahead with such elections. A welcome move, indeed.
At the time of taking over the reins of the State administration by the political (new) Governor Satya Pal Malik, Excelsior had informed the readers that with his appointment, the political process could get a fillip and the first of such processes would be to hold elections to Municipal Body and Panchayats and thus, at grass root levels, the people could get a chance to take part, yet again, in the democratic political process. The issue got its weightiness and emphasis in the address to the nation from ramparts of the Red Fort, recently by the Prime Minister on the eve of the Independence Day.
The importance of holding these elections and the seriousness accorded by the Central Government can be gauged by the fact that as on date, a whooping amount of Rs.1000 crore worth of grants stands blocked due to the elections to Panchayats and Municipal Body not held so far. Out of the amount, Rs.700 crore are meant for Panchayats and Rs.300 crore for Municipal Bodies and with a view to ensure “balanced and equal development of all three regions of the State” as desired by Prime Minister Modi in his address, the elections are going to take place in the state beginning October 1 and concluding on December 4 this year.
A notable aspect of these elections is the fact that such elections are scheduled to take place after seven years and nearly after four decades in the year 2011 when a record 80 percent of the people had voted despite as many as 130 protesters were killed in the 2010 unrest. The term of 4130 Sarpanchs and 29719 Panchs got completed in June 2016. Now after a hiatus of more than two years, these elections are going to take place. Agreed, that desperate terrorists at the behest of Pakistan and its agents in the Valley, would try to make their presence felt by fomenting trouble in various ways to thwart the election process but a committed administration and better security arrangements would nip the evil intentions of such elements in a way to ensure smooth polling.