Parties Seek Deferment Of Panchayat By-Polls

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Srinagar: The leaders of several mainstream parties on Saturday sought deferment of Panchayat and Municipal by-elections citing the coronavirus pandemic, adequate security and conducive atmosphere for the conduct of polls.

According to an official spokesperson, Chief Electoral Officer, J&K Hirdesh Kumar, conducted a meeting with the representatives of political parties regarding the conduct of Panchayat and municipal by-Elections 2020 during which several issues were deliberated.

The meeting was attended by Congress party leader Rama Kant Khajuria, Chairman, J&K National Panthers Party Harsh Dev Singh and Peoples Democratic Party’s Narender Singh Raina besides other officers/officials of CEO Office J&K.

“Several issues were raised by the representative of political parties including the deferment of the election due to COVID-19 , provision of adequate security as per actual threat perception and need without any party affiliation, and conducive atmosphere for the conduct of elections,” the official spokesperson said.

In response, the official spokesperson said, Kumar informed that political leaders that the by-elections can’t be indefinitely deferred as the government has now decided to conduct the polls on the lines of assembly elections being conducted in the country after observing all COVID-19 SOPs.

“He further assured that all COVID-19 related arrangements shall be ensured at polling stations including the provision of face masks, sanitizers, thermal scanners and proper social distancing will be ensured during the entire election process,” the official spokesperson said.

The CEO, he said apprised all the representatives of political parties about the conduct of polls by mentioning that all the preparations have been finalised including providing all logistics and procurement of election material.

“The Panchayat By-Election 2020 will be conducted through Ballot Boxes on non-party basis, whereas Municipal Election will be conducted on party basis through M2EVMs and accordingly a detailed scheduled in this regard is being issued shortly,” Kumar, as per official spokesperson said.

He said that CEO also informed that the continuous updation of Panchayat electoral rolls is under process with the aim that no eligible voter to be left behind unregistered, as far the updation of municipal electoral Rolls a special summary revision is being conducted with the qualifying date as 01-01-2020

“Regarding the free, fair and transparent conduct of election, CEO J&K assured all the political parties that Panchayat By-Election and Urban Local Bodies By-elections 2020 will be conducted in free, fair, transparent, ethical, participative and COVID safe manner,” he added.

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