Panchayat bypolls next month, first big political exercise after 5 August

People line up to cast their votes in central Kashmir's Ganderbal area. Photograph by Bhat Burhan for The Kashmir Walla

Srinagar: For the first time in seven months a major political exercise in the form of  by-election for nearly 13,000 panchayat seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be held next month.

According to a report by NDTV the massive exercise will be conducted in eight phases. “The model code of conduct has come into forces in Jammu and Kashmir,” State Chief Electoral Officer Shalinder Kumar said.

In the panchayat election in 2018, two major political parties of Jammu and Kashmir including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) did not participate over the issue of special status. The election was largely boycotted in Kashmir and over 12,000 panchayat seats are still lying vacant.

Most of the seats where the by-elections are to be held in March are in Kashmir Valley.

The by-election comes even as three former Chief Ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti – remain under detention for over six months.

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