Srinagar: 37 candidates are in the fray for the four state legislative council seats reserved for panchayats (village heads) across Jammu and Kashmir. Of these, 21 candidates are contesting the two seats in Jammu region and 16 are fighting it out for the two seats in the Kashmir Valley.

The ruling Congress; National Conference (NC) alliance is contesting the elections jointly, fielding two candidates each. Although the 2011 panchayat elections were fought on a non party basis, various political parties, including the Congress, the NC and the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP), had fielded candidates in those elections.

The voting for the four council seats is scheduled to be held on December 3. Nearly 35,000 panches and sarpanches constitute the electorate for these seats. The support base of any single political party in the valley and the Jammu region is far from clear. Though it is generally believed that the ruling alliance has a fair chance, those in the opposition camp believe they can pull off a surprise.

The outcome of the elections to the four legislative council seats would have no direct impact on the 2014 assembly polls, it may indicate the voters' mind.


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