Delimitation, harsh winters, LS poll to delay elections
LEH: The panchayats elections in the union territory of Ladakh are unlikely to take place before the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as the administration on Tuesday appointed Block Development Officers (BDOs) as Administrators, for running the affairs of the Panchayat Halqas, days after the terms of 193 elected Panchayats in the region came to an end.
Lok Sabha elections are due in April-May.
Besides the Panchayats, elections to Municipalities of Leh and Kargil districts is also likely to be held in summer, as the administration has also decided to carry out delimitation exercises, to increase the number of wards from 13 to 17, while number of Panchayats is also expected to go up in the delimitation.
The term of both the Urban Local Bodies expired in November last year, while the terms of Panchayats came to an end last week.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 9 of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 (Act No. IX of 1989), the Administration of Union territory of Ladakh, hereby appoints the Block Development Officers (BDOs) as Administrators of the Panchayat Halqas, under their respective jurisdictions, for a period of six months w.e.f. 10.01.2024 or till the Sarpanches to the respective Panchayat Halqas are elected, whichever is earlier,” an official order issued by Amit Sharma, Administrative Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department said on Tuesday.
The BDOs will take over from around 1630 representatives of Panchayats including 193 Sarpanches and 1437 Panches, for a period of six months.
With the expiry of terms of Panchayats, the terms of 31 Block Development Councils (BDCs)-16 in Leh and 15 in Kargil, also came to an end, as they were co-terminus with the Panchayats and thus ceased to exist along with Panchayats on January 9.
The elections of 193 Panchayats of Ladakh—98 in Kargil and 95 in Leh, were held in three phases on 17, 20 and 24 November, 2018, along with 4291 Panchayats of Jammu and Kashmir of which Ladakh was a part, then, before the centre government bifurcated the erstwhile state into two union territories.
The Jammu and Kashmir government had also appointed Block Development Officers (BDOs) as Administrators, for running the affairs of the Panchayat Halqas last week, a day after the terms of 4291 elected Panchayats across the union territory came to an end on January 9.
With terms of Block Development Councils also ending along with Panchayats, now the District Development Councils (DDCs), are left as the only elected institution in Jammu and Kashmir, which is without an elected government for almost six years now.
Ladakh, however, has only a two-tier system including Panchayats and Block Development Councils unlike the three-tier system of Panchayati Raj in Jammu and Kashmir.
In place of the third tier i.e. the District Development Councils, Leh and Kargil have Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils for the two districts.