Srinagar, Sep 14 :
In a significant move, Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh Union Territory has appointed the Common Election Commissioner of Union Territories as State Election Commissioner for conducting Panchayat polls in the Union Territory.
The Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh has appointed the Common Election Commissioner for the Union territories of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep as State Election Commissioner for Panchayats in the union territory of Ladakh.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of article 243K and article 243L of the Constitution of India and section 98 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 (Act No. 34 of 2019), the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh is pleased to appoint common Election Commissioner appointed for the Union territories of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep as State Election Commissioner for the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Panchayats in the union territory of Ladakh under the provisions of the Jammu & Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 (Act No. IX of 1989),” reads a notification issued by administration of Ladakh UT, a copy of which is in possession of news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).
While UTs of Delhi, Puducherry J&K and Chandigarh have separate state election commissions for holding Panchayat polls, the other Union Territories have a common election commission for conducting the exercise.
Currently, Sudhanshu Pandey, an IAS officer of erstwhile J&K cadre, is Common Election Commissioner for the union territories of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
The extension of jurisdiction of the Common Election commissioner to Ladakh is seen as the first step towards holding Panchayat polls in the UT. The Panchayat polls are likely to take place between October to November in Ladakh as the term of the existing Panchayats is ending on January 9, 2019 along with Panchayats of J&K. Ladakh was part of the erstwhile state of J&K when last Panchayat polls were held in the region—(KNO)