Srinagar: Home Ministry of India has ordered the deployment of 49 additional battalions of armed forces personnel to Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the Panchayat polls in the erstwhile state, officials sources said on Wednesday.
They said the deployments are being moved from various states to JK and concerned quarters have been asked to make the arrangements including the desired scale of arms and ammunitions, special anti-riot equipment and winter clothing.
Special emphasis has been laid on providing protective body gears in wake of the cold climate in the Valley.
State Election Commission has already announced an eight-phase poll to 20 District Development Councils (DDCs) and vacant Panchayat and municipal seats, in the first major electoral exercise since the effective nullification of Article 370 in August last year amid massive security and communication clampdown which saw detention or arrest of thousands of people including former three chief ministers and members of the erstwhile state legislature.
Authorities had also snapped the landline, mobile telephony and internet which was eased to large extent since.
The GoI had in October amended the JK Panchayati Raj Act to provide for setting up of District Development Councils in each district which will have directly elected members, marking the implementation of the entire 73rd Constitutional Amendment in the JK.
While votes in the first phase would be cast a ballot on November 28, the last phase of polling would take place on December 19 and the counting of votes would take place on December 22.
All mainstream parties in Kashmir have announced to take part in the electoral exercise and most of them are fighting under the banner of People’s Alliance for Gupkar declaration.
While DDC polls are being held on the party basis, panchayat bypolls are on a non-party basis. The PAGD has said that its candidates would use the symbol of the respective party.
Besides 20 DDCs—10 each in Jammu and Kashmir, elections for 12,153 vacant panchayat seats and 234 urban local wards are being held across JK.
(Syndicated feed from GNS)