In a significant decision, the Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to hold the much-awaited panchayat elections from February 2018.
The decision to start panchayat elections in the state from February 15, 2018, was conveyed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to Governor N N Vohra during her hour-long meeting with him in Jammu, an official spokesman said.
The panchayat polls were scheduled in the Valley in 2016, but could not be held because violent protests had erupted across the state after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. More than 86 people had died in those clashes.
This year too, the PDP-BJP coalition government could not hold the elections as large-scale violence had erupted during the bypoll to Srinagar constituency on April 8. About eight people were killed in the clashes.
I’m very pleased to announce that the long overdue Panchayat elections in J&K will be held from 15th February 2018. People in the state have always chosen ballots over bullets & will continue to do so.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) December 26, 2017
Mufti tweeted her decision to begin the poll process from February 15 next year. She also expressed hope that the people would choose ballots over bullets during the panchayat polls.