India, Nov. 23 -- The union territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir will have its first direct elections, the District Development Council (DDC) polls, in eight phases starting on November 28. Local body elections in Ladakh, the other union territory which came into existence after the bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir were held in October.

After the union government's decision to revoke the erstwhile state's special status in August 2019, politics has undergone a fundamental shift in the region, especially the Kashmir valley. A large number of commentators see the downgrading of the state's constitutional status as a snub to the mainstream political parties, which unlike separatists advocated engagement with India's co...