Uncertainty over government formation may cast a shadow on conduct of Urban Local Body polls in Jammu and Kashmir, due since February 2010. The previous PDP-BJP government had decided that it will hold Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) elections in March and Panchayat elections in May-June. Sources told KNS that the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, a strong votary of empowerment of municipalities, was also a major setback for urban reforms. “Political permutations and combination emerging in the state would drastically change the willingness of the next government to conduct the polls,” one of the officials of the local bodies said. After four-years delay in holding of Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections, the government was ready to hold the civic polls in Jammu and Kashmir, which will increase the central funding to the State. The ULB polls were held in J&K after a span of 23-years in January 2005. At t that time there were 14.5 lakh voters for 76 ULBs. However, the civic polls could not be held since 2011 despite the previous government, the National Conference and Congress had set up several deadlines about holding the elections. Since then, the uncertainty has been looming large over holding of civic polls in the State resulting lapse crores of Central government funds. Sources said that if these elections will be conducted, state can get funds under 14th Finance Commission. The NC-Congress government had set October-November 2011 and later April 2012 as deadlines for holding the civic polls but failed to execute their own decision. The previous regime in its Coalition Coordination Committee (CCC) meeting in April 2013 had decided to hold the elections before June 31, 2013. The coalition partners had then blamed each other for delay in holding ULB elections in J&K after they failed to hold the civic polls in the State. When contacted, Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu said they were ready with the updated electoral list. “We have completed the work and the list will be released in the public domain. We have to wait for the government after the next Chief Minister takes charge.
2015 Kashmir Despatch