September 29, 2019

Elections for Block Development Councils in J&K, CEO announces schedule

‘26629 electors to elect 310 BDC chairpersons; Nomination filing till Oct 9, elections on Oct 24

SRINAGAR: Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), J&K, Shailendra Kumar, who is also Election Authority under Panchayati Raj Act 1989, on
Sunday announced the schedule for the Block Development Council (BDC) Elections in J&K with polling on October 24.

Addressing a Press Conference here today, the CEO informed that the Election notification in this regard will be issued on October 1, 2019. The
nominations would be filed up to October 9, 2019 and the scrutiny of nomination papers shall take place on October 10, 2019. Date of withdrawal
of candidature has been fixed as October 11, 2019, and Elections shall be held on October 24. The entire election process shall be completed by
November 5, 2019, said Mr. Shailendra during the presser which was also attended by media persons from Jammu division via video link.

Elaborating details, the CEO informed that the polling hours shall be from 9 am to 1 pm while the counting of votes shall be taken up on the
day of poll from 3 pm onwards unless notified otherwise, followed by announcements of results the same day.

The CEO also announced that the provisions of Model Code of Conduct shall also come into force with immediate effect, adding all the provisions
of MCC will apply to all the Panchayat Halqas (Rural Areas) and will be applicable to all the candidates, political parties and the State and
Central Governments.

Kumar informed that the BDC elections shall be held on party lines and one block would be taken as one constituency and all the elected Panches
and Sarpanches of Halqa Panchayats falling within the block would constitute the Electoral College for that block.

Giving further details, he said that out of 316 blocks in the State, there are two blocks where there are no elected Panches or Sarpanches
besides, four Blocks reserved for women where there are no women candidates.

He further informed that Photo Electoral Rolls have been prepared by following the due process of appointing Electoral Registration Officers
and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers for all blocks. The notification with regard to reservation of Sarpanch/Panch Constituencies for
Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Women as per provision of the Act and Rules governing Panchayat Elections have been issued by the
competent authority i.e., Directors of Rural Development Department, J&K. There are reservations for women in ST and SC categories also with 21
reservations in ST and 7 in SC quota, said Mr. Shailendra.

It was also informed that there shall be one polling station for one Block Development Council, and accordingly, 310 polling stations have been
setup in the State, one in each block where elections are being notified. In total there are 26629 electors, of which 8313 are females and
18316 male electros for 316 blocks across the 22 districts of J&K.

It was given out that the Election Authority has decided that compulsory identification of voters will be made in these elections through EPICs
and list of alternative documents which can also be used for the purpose of identification by the electors who are yet to be provided EPICs.
These alternate documents include Passport, Driving Licence, Bank /Post office passbooks with photographs, Income Tax Identity (PAN) Card,
Aadhaar Card, Pension documents such as ex-servicemen’s pension payment order, Ex-Servicemen’s widow/Dependent certificates, Old Age pension
order and Widow Pension order with photographs,” CEO added.

He further informed that ballot boxes would be used during the elections of the chairpersons of the BDCs as the election shall be held through
secret ballot.

Regarding the transparency in election process, the CEO said that General Observers shall be deployed to ensure free and fair elections and
they will be asked to keep a close watch on every stage of the electoral process. “Their names, addresses within the district and their
telephone numbers will be publicized,” he said.

He further said that comprehensive instructions for the purpose of effective monitoring of the election expenditure of the candidates have been
issued. “For greater transparency and ease of monitoring of election expenses, candidates would be required to open a separate bank account and
incur their election expenses from that very account. Control Rooms and Complaint Monitoring Centers at the District level shall be operative
during the entire election process. The candidates have to ensure that they maintain day-to-day expenditure record in the prescribed register,
which will be supplied to the contesting candidate in the form of ‘Expenditure Register’, from the date of nomination to the date of
declaration of result. The Election Authority has fixed the limit of expenditure to be incurred by the Contesting Candidate as Rs 2 lakh. The
General Observers shall function as Expenditure Observers as well”, he observed.

“All critical events will be videographed by the District Panchayat Election Officers (Deputy Commissioners), who will arrange sufficient
numbers of video and digital camera teams for the purpose. The events for videography will include filing of nominations, scrutiny thereof and
allotment of symbols, storage and distribution of Ballot Boxes, important public meetings, processions etc., during campaign, process of
dispatching of postal ballot papers, polling process and counting of votes”, the presser was told.

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