Low turnout marks first phase of civic polls in Valley

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Srinagar: The phase-I of the election to Urban Local Bodies, being held after 2005, marked low turnout of 11.88 percent in 58 wards, spanned over six districts, in Kashmir.

The polling amid a shutdown called by the Joint Resistance Leadership and heightened security arrangements remained peaceful in all the six districts—Kupwara, Bandiopora, Baramulla, Srinagar, Budgam and Anantnag.

According to officials, 16 wards in Bandipora recorded lowest polling percentage of 3.4% followed by 5.1% in Baramulla (15 wards), 6.2% in Srinagar (3 wards), 17% in Budgam (1 ward) and 7% in Anantnag (4 wards). Kupwara district where 18 wards saw the highest turnout of 32.3%, they said.

Regarding Jammu and Kargil, the official said that Rajouri saw the highest 81%, Poonch 73.1%, Jammu 63.8% while Kargil saw the turnout 78.2% and Leh 55.2%.

According to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) J&K Shaleen Kabra, the overall polling percentage across the State was 56.7 percent.

As per officials, there were 820 polling stations across the State and the polling time started from 7.00 am and continued till 4.00 pm.

While 150 polling stations were designated for voting in Kashmir Division including Kargil and Leh, 670 were set up in Jammu Division.

138 polling stations were categorized as hypersensitive In Kashmir Division while the number of such stations in Jammu was 52.

While 78 candidates were elected unopposed, 1204 contenders were in the fray for 321 Municipal Wards in Phase-I including 83 in Kashmir division and 238 in Jammu division. “The total electorate for Phase-I was 586064.

The government had also declared holiday on the day of poll in the municipal areas going to polls so as to enable the voters to cast their vote. As per standing guidelines, the Central Government offices shall not be closed but the employees who are electors of the poll going wards and desire to exercise their franchise shall be offered reasonable facility- by way of coming late to office, allowed to leave office early .

The Municipal Elections are being held in four phases, covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh. A total of 3372 nominations have been filed for 1145 wards. The next phase of voting is on October 10, followed by third phase on 13 and forth on October 16. (GNS)

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