SRINAGAR: By-election to over 12,500 panchayat seats in Jammu and Kashmir would be held in eight phases from March 5, the Union Territory’s Chief Electoral Officer Shailender Kumar said on Thursday. Polling would be held from March 5 to March 20 and ballots would be used for casting votes, he said.
Of the 11,639 vacant panch seats, 11,457 seats are in Kashmir and 182 in Jammu and of the 1,011 vacant sarpanch seats, 887 are in Kashmir and the remaining 124 in Jammu. The CEO said that a total of 22,214 punches and 3,459 sarpanches were elected out of 33,592 punches and 4,290 sarpanch seats in J&K in 2018 panchayat polls.
The first phase of the bypolls will be held on March 5, followed by second on March 7, third on March 9, fourth on March 12, fifth on March 14, sixth on March 16, seventh on March 18 and last on March 20, he said. The Model Code of Conduct has come into force with immediate effect.
Mobile Internet services were restored in Kashmir on Thursday afternoon, hours after authorities had suspended the facility to prevent rumors about the health of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
The services were snapped on Wednesday night after social media posts claimed the health of the 90-year-old had deteriorated. Geelani’s family said he is ill but stable.