The curtain falls on the last vestige of elected representatives in Jammu and Kashmir as the term of over 28,000 panchayat members ended today with no fresh elections in sight.
In the absence of an elected government in the erstwhile state for more than five years, Panchayats-elected local bodies were the only democratic institutions functional in the region.
The administration of the Union Territory is likely to appoint administrators who will exercise the powers of grassroots elected bodies till the time fresh elections are held.
The Jammu and Kashmir State Election Commission today announced a revision of electoral rolls which will be published by February 26. It will be followed by a delimitation of Panchayats and reservation of seats for OBCs, sources told NDTV.
“The State Election Commission will run a special campaign to undertake an annual summary revision of panchayat electoral rolls,” Jammu and Kashmir State Election Commissioner, BR Sharma, said.
While the District Development Councils ( DDC), which is the third tier of the Panchayati Raj System will continue to function, they become meaningless in the absence of panchayats and block development councils.
Elections for the panchayats and Urban local bodies were last held in November and December 2018.
In the wake of an election boycott by the National Conference and the PDP, most of the panchayat members were elected unopposed. Around 12,000 seats remained vacant and were filled after the by-elections two years later in 2020.
After the completion of the five-year term, all the urban local bodies ceased to exist in December last month.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under direct Central rule since June 2018. Last month, the Supreme Court set the deadline for holding assembly elections before September this year.