Jammu and Kashmir election

Village heads showing the indelible ink on their fingers after casting their votes in the first-ever Block Development Council polls in Chek Dara on the outskirts of Srinagar yesterday.
Village heads showing the indelible ink on their fingers after casting their votes in the first-ever Block Development Council polls in Chek Dara on the outskirts of Srinagar yesterday.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, local body elections were held nearly three months after the federal government removed autonomy or special status for the state and enforced a communications lockdown, which is now slowly being eased.

Over 95 per cent of the elected representatives entitled to vote turned up to cast their ballot for chairpersons of Block Development Councils (BDC), which form one of the tiers of a system of local, rural self-government known as the Panchayati Raj system.

Some 27,300 village representatives voted to elect 310 chairpersons for the BDCs.

The vote was boycotted by three main parties - local parties National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party; and national party Congress.

A total of 1,029 candidates stood for election, of which 27 were elected unopposed.

The elections were dismissed as a farce by the opposition parties as top political leaders in Kashmir were in detention as part of measures introduced to manage the removal of autonomy in the state.

Nirmala Ganapathy

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2019, with the headline 'Jammu and Kashmir election'. Print Edition | Subscribe