J&K DDC polls: Postal ballot scheme to ensure maximum participation of Kashmiri migrants

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Jammu, Nov 10 (PTI) A mechanism has been put in place for the successful implementation of the postal ballot scheme in the ensuing District Development Council (DDC) elections, and panchayat and municipal bypolls to ensure maximum participation of Kashmiri migrants and absentee voters, an official said on Tuesday.

State Election Commissioner (SEC) K K Sharma had last week announced an eight-phase election to the 20 DDCs in the Union Territory beginning November 28 in the first major electoral exercise since the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year. The counting of votes will be taken up the same day.

The byelections to the vacant panchayat and municipal seats will also be held simultaneously.

The information was given at a review meeting chaired by Sharma here to discuss the implementation of the postal ballot scheme for Kashmir migrants and absentee voters, the official said.

The government had in October amended the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act to provide for setting up of DDCs in each district which will have directly elected members, marking the implementation of the entire 73rd Constitutional Amendment in the union territory.

The spokesperson said the meeting, which was also attended by Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar, was told that an appropriate mechanism has been put in place for the successful implementation of postal ballot scheme for Kashmiri migrants and also absentee voters.

He said the concerned Kashmiri migrants living in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country would have to approach the assistant returning officer (migrants) for getting themselves registered and other related things for hassle free exercise of their franchise.

Similarly, the in-service voters and those on COVID-19 related duties would have to approach the concerned returning officer for casting postal votes, the official said.

The absentee voter postal ballot has been formulated for the electors who are COVID-19 suspect or affected people, and are hospitalised or under institutional quarantine, besides senior citizens above 80 years, electors with physical disability and those on election duty or COVID-19-related duty.

Addressing the meeting, Sharma sought effective coordination between the postal authorities and officers concerned with the electoral process so that the maximum participation of Kashmiri migrant voters and absentee voters is ensured.

Delimitation had been done for the constituencies and 280 DDCs constituencies identified across the UT for undertaking the elections, with 14 DDC constituencies in each district, Sharma had said.

The date before which the election shall be completed has been fixed as December 24. PTI TAS AB RHL