Two Sarpanchs elected on their vote alone in south Kashmir

In 1 Panch constituency, 2 contesting candidates decide their fate by a draw of lots , ‘Entire Bijbehara block would have no Panch at all’

KHALID GUL
Anantnag, Publish Date: Nov 21 2018 12:43AM | Updated Date: Nov 21 2018 11:01AM
Two Sarpanchs elected on their vote alone in south KashmirRepresentational Pic

It is 1 pm and one of the contesting candidates in Takia Behram Shah Panchyat Halqa has not turned up to caste even his own vote even as the polling staff eagerly waits for him.

An hour later – as the poll timing ends, the officials make an announcement saying Gul Muhamad Najar has been elected as Sarpanch after defeating his rival by one vote.

“Najar has polled vote while his opposite has none,” an official announced.

He said the Panchayat Halqa (Sarpanch constituency) had a total of 1300 electorate and only one vote was polled here.

“One candidate turned up to the polling booth, cast his vote to himself, was declared Sarpach and left,” a polling official said as his colleagues burst into laughter.

There was no word about the other candidate who had filed nominations.

“Even we don’t know who had filed nominations,” said Muhammad Arif, a villager.

The situation was not any different in other villages which went to polls today.

The polling staff had a leisure time as candidates were missing and barely any voter turned up to vote.

At the end of the day, the percentage remained dismal 1 percent in this block.

In Monghal Panch constituency, only two candidates in contest exercised their franchise and no one else turned out to vote.

“Both the candidates voted to themselves and it was a tie. Later, one candidate Sajad Shah was declared the winner by a draw of lots and, hence, the Panch,” an official said.

In Kamad, Panchayat Halqa also only one of the two candidates-Muhamad Yaqoob Shah turned up to vote in his favor and was elected as Sarpanch.

“The other candidate remained missing from the polling booth. And no one turned to vote for them either,”

Likewise, an official said only one candidate turned up both at Batengoo and Khnadipahi Panchayat Halqas and the opponents remained absent.

“Six and thirty one votes were polled respectively in their favor and they were elected Sarpanchs with the opponents getting none,” an official said.

In Rooh and Nijigund Panchayat Halqas 41 and 23 votes were polled out of more than 2000 votes.

Elections in Anantnag block considered to be comparatively less militancy affected in south Kashmir could only be held in two Panch wards out of the total of 186 and for seven Panchayat Halqas (Sarpanch wards) out of the total of 24.

The Panchayat elections are being fought on the non-party basis even as two major regional parties National conference and PDP have already declared the boycott of elections in the wake of the controversy surrounding article 35 A constitution of India. 

However, the candidates in the fray are affiliated with both these parties (NC and PDP) as well as Congress, sources said.

The Panchayat elections scheduled for today in neighboring Bijbehara block of Anantnag district could not be held as none the candidates turned up to participate in the total of 224 Panch wards while only two Sarpanchs who filed nominations in the 3o Panchayat Halqas were elected unopposed due to no contest at all.

In the recently concluded municipal elections also no polling could be possible in Bijbehara- the hometown of Mehbooba Mufti with five candidates two among them Kashmiri migrant Pandits getting elected unopposed in the seventeen wards municipal committee.

“No one has filed nomination in the total of 224 Panch wards/ constituencies at all. So, the entire Bijbehara block would have no Panch at all,” an official said.

He said in 30 Panchayat Halqas (Sarpanch constituencies) only two have a candidate each –Kaut and Jabliupora.

“These two Sarpanchs have been elected unopposed while rest of the 28 Halqas will remain vacant and would have no Sarpanch at all.”

“We are not even aware that today the elections were scheduled to be held,” said Muhamad Altaf a resident of Arwani village. 

Bijbehara is the most volatile area of Anantnag district with 22 active militants hailing from this area.

 

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