Discrepancies in population data: CEO office seeks revised figures from DEOs

Reservation roster to be finalized thereafter

*Polling Stations, staff list to be out soon

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Sept 21: Certain discrepancies have cropped up in population data of Wards on the basis of which draft reservation list of Wards had been released by the Election Authority for elections to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) prompting the CEO office to shot off letter to District Election Officers (DEO) to correct the figures while the process has been initiated to appoint the polling staff including Presiding Officers and finalize the Polling Stations.
Officials told the Excelsior that while examining objections filed by the political parties and their leaders to draft reservation list of Wards issued by Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), it surfaced that there were discrepancies in population data in some Wards for 2023 as compared to 2018 when the last elections were held for the Municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Discrepancies in population data could also lead to reservation of some Wards as reservation to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) is given on the basis of their population,” they said.
The discrepancies were detected due to alertness of the staff of the CEO PK Pole. Immediately thereafter, the Joint CEO shot off letters to the DEOs seeking clarifications on population data of some Wards where discrepancies have cropped up.
However, according to sources, the revised figures are expected within next couple of days and the issue will be sorted out by the CEO office.
“After receipt of clarifications on population data, the CEO office is expected to issue final list for reservation of Wards in the Urban Local Bodies for Women, SCs, STs, SC Women and ST Women,” the officials said, adding the objections filed by the political parties and their candidates are in the process of being sorted out.
Meanwhile, as per the officials, the CEO office is in the process of finalizing the names of polling staff for Urban Local Bodies including Presiding Officers etc. Training for potential staff from Education and other Departments has also started, they said.
“Polling Stations for all Wards of 77 Municipalities including 40 in Kashmir division and 37 in Jammu division have almost been finalized and their list will be released shortly,” the officials said.
The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are in place for all the Polling Stations in adequate numbers, they said.
Revised electoral rolls for the Municipal polls have already been published. Besides, all other major formalities required for the electoral exercise have either been completed or will be over within next few days.
The Municipal polls, as per the officials, are likely to be held on party-basis and an announcement is expected shortly.
Five-year term of the ULBs will be completed in first-week of December this year and the Municipalities will be in place before that.
Sources said the Panchayat polls can be held after completion of Municipal polls.
In 2018 also, the Municipal polls were held in October followed by elections to the Panchayats. While Municipal polls were held after 13 years, the Panchayat elections were conducted after decades.
Term of the Block Development Councils (BDCs) will end in October 2024 while the District Development Councils (DDCs) will complete their tenure in January 2026.
“Generally elections to all three tiers of Panchayati Raj System are held simultaneously. However, since elections to DDCs were held for first time in Jammu and Kashmir, there was gap of two years in their and Panchayats term while there was an year’s difference in Panchayats and BDC term,” sources said.
They said the Jammu and Kashmir Government will take a decision after taking security situation and other arrangements in consideration on when to hold the elections. A call is expected to be taken shortly, sources said.
Number of electorates in Jammu and Kashmir had gone up to 83.59 lakh when Special Summary Revision was carried out last year and final electoral rolls were published on November 25. The numbers further went up to 8.5 million when the Special Summary Revision was undertaken by the Election Commission this year and final rolls were published on May 27.
The ULB votes increased with publication of final rolls last week and similarly there is a possibility that Panchayat electorates will also go up after revision is taken up.