The by-elections for close to 13,000 vacant panchayat seats In Jammu and Kashmir will be held in March, Chief Electoral officer Shailendra Kumar said in Jammu on Thursday, February 13. He said the elections would be held in eight phases beginning March 5.

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8-phases, 13,000 vacant seats

The poll phases are scheduled to be held on March 5, March 7, March 9, March 12, March 14, March 16, March 18 and March 20.

Panchayat elections were held in 2018 which were boycotted by the mainstream Kashmir-based political parties - the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC).

The electoral exercise has been announced at a time when three former chief ministers continue to be under detention since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. 

All top leaders and three former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti - remain in detention.

Leaders booked under PSA

Mehbooba Mufti
Former Chief Ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti , the political rivals have decided to join hands for a grand alliance formation in the state.Facebook

Earlier, National Conference General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar and senior PDP leader Sartaj Madani, uncle of Mehbooba Mufti, were booked under the PSA.

Omar's father and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has been booked under the PSA and lodged at his Srinagar residence, which has been designated as a sub-jail. Omar is detained at Hari Niwas.

Naeem Akhtar became the sixth leader from Jammu and Kashmir to be slapped with the PSA, a law that allows detention ranging from three months to 24 months without a trial. Akhtar will be lodged at M-5 hut, located on Gupkar Road of the J&K capital.