J&K civic polls: 80% vot­ing in Jammu, 3.4% in Kash­mir

Financial Chronicle - - FUNDAMENTALS, POLITICS -

NEARLY 80 per cent of over 1.26 lakh vot­ers ex­er­cised their fran­chise in Jammu while there was a low voter turnout yet again in Kash­mir with 3.4 per cent of 2.20 lakh elec­torate cast­ing their votes on Wed­nes­day in the sec­ond phase of mu­nic­i­pal polls in the state, of­fi­cials said.

The sec­ond phase wit­nessed over­all voter turnout of 31.3 per cent out of to­tal elec­torate of 3.47 lakh in the state, they said.

The low voter turnout in Kash­mir was in line with a mea­gre 8.3 per cent turnout in the val­ley dur­ing the first phase of polling, when the Jammu and Ladakh di­vi­sions had wit­nessed over 65 per cent of vot­ing, they said.

Nine­teen wards of Srinagar Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion, hav­ing an elec­torate of 1.78 lakh, wit­nessed a turnout of just 2.3 per cent. Bandi­pora dis­trict, how­ever, wit­nessed brisk polling as 34.2 per cent of the 8,300 vot­ers ex­er­cised their fran­chise. So­pore in north Kash­mir and Anant­nag in south Kash­mir reg­is­tered turnouts of 6.1 per cent and 1.1 per cent re­spec­tively.

The on­go­ing mu­nic­i­pal polls in J&K is be­ing held amid the loom­ing threat of mil­i­tant vi­o­lence and boy­cott by two key po­lit­i­cal par­ties — the PDP and NC.

Kash­mir wit­nessed low voter turnout de­spite elec­tion au­thor­i­ties hav­ing ad­vanced the start­ing time of polling for the sec­ond phase by an hour to 6 am, half an hour be­fore the day break. The ad­vance­ment of the time for start of the vot­ing has led to fears among some po­lit­i­cal par­ties that it may be meant to ma­nip­u­late the elec­tion process.

Polling was held amidst strin­gent se­cu­rity mea­sures at 544 polling sta­tions across the state and ended at 4 pm. Over 1,000 can­di­dates — 881 in Jammu di­vi­sion and 148 in Kash­mir di­vi­sion — are in the fray for 263 mu­nic­i­pal wards in­clud­ing 49 in Kash­mir and 214 in Jammu.

As many as 65 can­di­dates with 61 of them from the val­ley have al­ready won the polls un­con­tested while in 56 wards — all in the val­ley — no nom­i­na­tion was filed, due to which no vot­ing took place there.

Mas­sive se­cu­rity ar­range­ments were put in place for smooth con­duct of the polls, the of­fi­cials said, adding no un­to­ward in­ci­dent was re­ported dur­ing the polling. Mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions, cov­er­ing 79 lo­cal ur­ban bodies with an elec­torate of about 17 lakh, are be­ing held in four phases.

A to­tal of 3,372 nom­i­na­tions have been filed for 1,145 wards. The next phases are sched­uled to take place on Oc­to­ber 13 and 16. The govern­ment has de­clared hol­i­day on the days of vot­ing in the mu­nic­i­pal ar­eas go­ing to polls.

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