|Bypolls to 12,600 Panch, Sarpanchs after improvement of Covid-19 Situation|
|Early Times Report|
SRINAGAR, Aug 7: By-elections to all vacant posts of Panch and Sarpanch in Jammu and Kashmir will be held as soon as the coronavirus situation improves, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam has said. About 12,600 posts of panch and sarpanchs, out of nearly 40,000, are currently vacant. The vacant posts are mostly in Kashmir Valley. “We will hold bypolls to the vacant gram panchayat posts once COVID-19 goes off. Infact, we had plans to hold the bypolls by February-March. But coronavirus delayed the whole process,” the Jammu and Kashmor chief secretary told a group of visiting journalists. Describing the panchayat elections, held in 2018 as “good elections”, Subrahmanyam said funds were flowing to the panchayats where different development works were carried out for the benefit of the people. According to an official estimate, 11,457 panch and 887 sarpanch seats are vacant in Kashmir, while 182 panch and 124 sarpanch seats are vacant in Jammu division. When the bypolls to the panchayats will be held, they will be the first elections in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories in August, 2019.