Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday expressed the hope that people in the state will prefer the ballot over the bullet in the just-announced panchayat elections like they have always done.
"I am very pleased to announce that the long overdue Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held from February 15, 2018. People in the state have always chosen ballots over bullets and will continue to do so," Mufti tweeted.
Mufti met Governor N.N. Vohra in Jammu on Monday to inform him about the government's decision to hold the panchayat elections in the state that were scheduled last year when the five-year term of these bodies ended.
However, the polls could not be held due to widespread violence in the Kashmir Valley following the killing of Hizb ul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. The polls could not be held this year since the valley continued to reel under unrest and intermittent bouts of stone-pelting protests.
Vohra on November 4 promulgated an ordinance to designate the state's Chief Electoral Officer as State Election Commissioner for conducting the panchayat elections. Jammu and Kashmir has 4,378 panchayats.