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Panchayat elections for vacant seats from March 5


 Aatif Qayoom 

Srinagar, Feb 13 (KNS):  The Authorities on Thursday said the  panchayat by-elections in Jammu and Kashmir  for nearly 13,000 vacant seats will be held in March,
This is the first major political exercise in the region since August 5 last year, when the  centre abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the     erstwhile state’ into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Taking to Kashmir News Service, Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar
 Said, “Panchayat elections for vacant posts of every block will be held using ballot boxes. The election will be conducted in eight phases,” he said.
With the announcement of elections, model code of conduct has come into effect.  Most of the areas where panchayat elections will be held fall in the Kashmir Valley. The eight phases of polling will be held on  March 5,7,9,12,14,16,18 and 20 .
More than half of Panchayat election posts were lying vacant since November 2018 when the elections to the local bodies were held.
Earlier the polls held in 2018 witnessed poor participation with two major regional political parties — the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) boycotting it. (KNS)