Govt to go for elections to 6 LC seats from ULB, Panchayats

Electoral College to be notified shortly

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Dec 9: The Government proposed to hold elections to six seats of the Legislative Council from the quota of Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies, four of which have fallen vacant on December 6 while two others were vacant for last 10 and seven years respectively.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the elections to all six vacancies will be held after publication of Electoral College of the Panchayats, which was expected within a week after culmination of nine-phase Panchayat election process on December 11. The Electoral College for the Urban Local Bodies has already been published by the Election Authority.
“The Government has decided to go for election to all six vacant seats of Legislative Council and Urban Local Bodies. A call on dates of the elections will be taken by the Election Authority shortly,” sources said.
The Electoral College for two seats of Legislative Council comprised all Corporators, Councilors and Members of Urban Local Bodies including Municipal Corporations, Councils and Committees. Jammu and Kashmir divisions shared one seat each of the Council.
Similarly, the elected Sarpanchs and Panchs comprised the Electoral College for four seats of the Upper House from the quota of Panchayats, two each for Jammu and Kashmir divisions.
About 4490 Sarpanchs and 35096 Panchs were supposed to comprise the Electoral College for four seats of the Upper House from the quota of Panchayats but the number would be less as many seats were left vacant in the Kashmir valley especially South Kashmir. Similarly, the Electoral College for Urban Local Bodies was supposed to be 1145 but number would be less due to some Wards remaining vacant in the Valley.
However, the Electoral College will be complete in Jammu division, where almost all segments of Urban Local Bodies and Panchayats have been filled. Shortage of numbers will be confined to the Valley only, where there were no contestants for some of the segments, sources pointed out.
The Election Authority, which will be the Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir, will publish the Electoral College before announcement of the elections, sources said.
Two seats from the quota of Urban Local Bodies in the Legislative Council were filled up in November 2005 after Municipal elections were held in the State following a gap of 26 years. Congress leader Arvinder Singh Micky was elected to the Upper House from Jammu while PDP’s Nizam-ud-Din Bhat was elected from Kashmir division.
Bhat had resigned from membership of the Upper House in 2008 after being elected as MLA on the PDP mandate while Micky had completed his six year term in November 2011. While one of the seats from Municipal quota was vacant since 2008, another was vacant from November 2011.
Four seats from Panchayat quota were filled up in December 2012 after Panchayat polls were held in 2011. Congress and National Conference, who were then coalition partners, had bagged two seats each.
Dr Shehnaz Ganai of National Conference and Sham Lal Bhagat of Congress were elected from Jammu region while Ali Mohammad Dar of National Conference and Ghulam Nabi Monga of Congress were elected from Kashmir division. All of them have completed their terms on December 6.
Present strength of the Legislative Council has come down to 30 in view of six vacancies from the quota of Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies. The Council has total strength of 36.
Sources said the Government doesn’t want to keep vacancies in the Legislative Council unfilled for a longtime and, therefore, it has decided to go for the elections to all six seats shortly after the notification of Electoral College by the Election Authority.