Model Code of Conduct for ULB polls to be ‘area specific’

Announcement of schedule this week
5 distts may go to elections in one phase

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Sept 4: The Election Authority is likely to impose “area specific’’ Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for Municipal elections, which will come into force the day formal schedule of the polls is announced by Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shaleen Kabra, which was expected in the next few days now.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Model Code of Conduct will not be imposed in the entire State with announcement of Municipal elections but will be confined to the areas, where elections will be held. This will help the Government to go ahead with routine developmental works in the areas, where elections are not being held.
“There will be a Model Code of Conduct but it will be ‘area specific’. It will be announced along with the detailed election schedule for Municipal elections. A formal announcement of the elections is expected to be made anytime now,’’ sources said.
They pointed out that imposition of Model Code of Conduct in the entire State for Municipal elections would have hampered developmental works as both Centre and State Governments can’t announce new projects for any part of the State or lay foundation stone and inaugurate the projects. However, ‘area specific’ Model Code of Conduct will help the Government to go ahead with the developmental works except for the areas, where elections are being conducted.
A formal announcement of four-phase Municipal election for 79 Urban Local Bodies is likely to be made anytime this week by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) after final electoral rolls for the Municipalities are published. September 4 was due date for publication of electoral rolls but final publication has been delayed by a day or two due to some technicalities.
“We are ready with the final electoral rolls, which will be published in next couple of days after which the schedule for Municipal elections will be announced,’’ sources said, adding that publication of electoral rolls as well as announcement of elections was likely this week.
The Municipal elections will be conducted in four phases beginning first week of October and lasting one month. There was likely to be gap of one week in every phase to give time to para-military forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police to rotate from one place to another.
The Election Authority was likely to take up five districts each in one phase, sources said, adding that militancy-related situation in the particular district will be taken into account for clubbing the districts with peaceful areas of Jammu region in finalizing the election schedule.
There are a total of 79 Urban Local Bodies in Jammu and Kashmir including two Municipal Corporations of Jammu and Srinagar, six Municipal Councils—three each in Jammu and Kashmir regions and 71 Municipal Committees, sources said.
The Election Authority has carried out detailed exercise for revision of electoral rolls for all 79 Urban Local Bodies and final electoral rolls are now ready for publication in the next couple of days.
This is after eight and half years that Municipal elections are being held in Jammu and Kashmir. The last Urban Local Bodies’ polls were held in eight phases in January-February 2005 and the elected Municipalities had completed their term in March 2010. Since then, the Municipal elections were pending.