Municipal Polls announced, Model Code of Conduct comes into effect

Four-phased polling on Oct 8, 10, 13, 16; counting on Oct 20

SRINAGAR: Bringing to a halt all speculations about the possible deferment, the Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra today announced the schedule for conduct of Urban Local Bodies Elections in the State beginning from October 8.

With the announcement, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the state.

“The elections to 2 Municipal Corporations—in Jammu and Srinagar, 6 Municipal Councils and 72 Municipal Committees in the State shall be held from 08th to 16th October in four phases,” Kabra said at a press conference here this evening.

There are 1,145 wards in these 79 bodies which have an electoral strength of 16,09,721. The last elections to the Municipal Bodies in the State were held in 2005 and their 5-year term expired in 2010.

CEO said with today’s announcement of the poll schedule, the Model Code of Conduct shall come into force with immediate effect and the same shall apply in all Municipal Bodies going to polls as also for the candidates, the political parties and the Government.

The polling will be held on 08, 10, 13 and 16 October respectively, while as the date of counting will be 20 October.

Kabra said individual notifications for each Phase of polls will be issued on 18th, 20th, 22nd and 24th September respectively. He said the last date for filing nominations for the four phases will be 25th, 27th, 29th September and 1st October respectively.

He added the date of scrutiny of nominations will be 26th, 28th September and 1st and 3rd October respectively and the last date for withdrawal of nominations will be 28 September and 01, 03 and 05 October respectively.

He said the polling hours will be from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm and the process of election will complete on 27 October.

Kabra said the elections will be held through EVMs and suitable number of Polling Stations have been notified for each Ward of the Municipal Corporations/ Councils/ Committees. He said General Observers shall be deployed, one for each Municipal Body, to ensure free and fair elections. The Observers will be asked to keep a close watch on every stage of the electoral process, he said.

He said notifications with regard to reservation of wards for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and Women as per provisions of the Act and Rules governing Municipal Elections have been already issued. “Out of 1145 Wards, 90 Wards have been reserved for Scheduled Castes and 38 Wards have been reserved for Scheduled Tribes which includes 31 and 13 wards reserved for SC and ST Women respectively. In addition to 322 wards have been reserved for Women belonging to Open category,” he said and added that in order to facilitate the Kashmiri Migrants, a scheme to enable them to vote through Postal ballot is being provided in the Urban Local Bodies.

CEO said comprehensive instructions for effective monitoring of the election expenditure of the candidates have already been issued. He said for greater transparency and for 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. He said Expenditure Observers are being appointed to keep close watch on election expenditure of the candidates.

CEO said that expenditure limits have been fixed through notification dated 29-08-2018 for different categories of candidates which includes Rs 1.50 lakh for election to Municipal Corporation, Rs 1 lakh for election to Municipal Council and Rs 50000 for election to Municipal Committee.

He said Control Room and Complaint Monitoring Centre shall be operative during the entire election process. “All 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,” he said.

Kabra said all critical events will be videographed and concerned Deputy Commissioners will arrange sufficient number of video and digital cameras and camera teams for the purpose. “The events for videography will include filing of nominations, scrutiny thereof and allotment of symbols, First Level Checking, preparations and storage of Electronic Voting Machines, important public meetings etc during campaign, process of dispatching of postal ballot papers, polling process, storage of polled EVMs, counting of votes, etc,” he said.

The CEO said the announcement for the schedule of panchayat elections will be done separately.

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