In a massive development, the state election commission (SEC) on Thursday, announced that the Panchayat polls in newly-formed Union Territory (UT) of Jammu-Kashmir will be held in 8 phases for Kashmir and 4 phases for Jammu to fill 1011 sarpanch and 1639 panch vacancies. The poll phases are scheduled to be held on March 5,7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20. The Election Commission has not been sent a request to conduct polls in the UT of Ladakh as of yet.
The Jammu and Kashmir Block Development elections were held on October 24 and the results were declared in the evening. While independent candidates won 217 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC) candidates won 81 seats and one seat respectively, the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party won eight seats. This was the first electoral exercise in the region since the revocation of Article 370 on August 5 and registered a historic voter-turnout of 98.3% voter turnout.
Meanwhile, the J&K administration slapped the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) against Mufti and former CM Omar Abdullah, reportedly a day before their detention was supposed to end. Previously on December 14, Omar's father Farooq Abdullah's detention was extended by another three months by the Jammu-Kashmir administration after initially being charged on August 5. While several minor politicians have been released in a phased manner by the administration, former PDP minister Altaf Bukhari-led 'new political front' comprising of senior political leaders, academics, legal luminaries, activists is set to meet PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to demand the restoration of statehood and domicile rights.