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Panchayat polls likely after yatra..

In February this year, the “fragile situation” in Kashmir forced the government to quietly put on hold the village body elections indefinitely following unanimous view of the opposition parties that conditions were not right.
The government had decided to hold the elections from February 15, but the “unilateral decision” was shot down by opposition parties during a meeting about holding the polls.
The opposition parties at that time had said the government announced the polls without assessing the ground situation.
Now, the ruling PDP-BJP government has decided to hold the electoral exercise after completion of AmarnathYatra, hoping the situation would improve by then.
The two-year delay in reconstituting the defunct Panchayats has cost state around Rs 3200 crore in central funding under the Panchayat Raj system, said a top government official.
“But given the tough times we have been through it would be advisable to start the exercise in last quarter of the year,” he said.
The last Panchayat elections were held in 2011 after a gap of 10 years and 80 percent turned out to vote.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s government has come under criticism for not being able to conduct fresh polls since.
“The tourist season has just begun. We will have it (election) towards later part of this year,” said minister for Panchayat Raj. Abdul Haq Khan.
During past three years the government has been thinking of reconstituting the Panchayat system following a constant push from both union home ministry and Raj Bhavan, officials say.
There has been no major governmental activity since April 2017 when at eight civilians were killed on the day of by-polls to Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary constituency, in clashes between protestors and government forces at many polling booths.
There are a total of 35,096 panch constituencies in the state, 18,785 are in Kashmir province.
In December, the police had said it was impossible for them to provide security to each contesting candidate after militant group HizbulMujahideen threatened to attack contestants with acid.

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