Voting begins for IIIrd Phase: Sensitive downtown and Civil lines areas going to poll

Voting for the third phase of the urban local bodies elections is underway in Jammu and Kashmir. A total of 242 candidates – of which 84 are female candidates – are in the fray for 56 wards of Samba district. Total number of voters are 31818 which include 15,510 female voters will cast their votes at 57 poling booths. There are 19 Hypersensitive, 06 Sensitive and 32 Normal polling booths. Observers and Nodal Officers have been appointed to ensure fair and free election. The time of the polling is 6 am to 4 pm.

The last phase on October 16. Counting of votes will take place on October 20.

The first of the four-phased municipal elections was held on October 8 after a hiatus of 13 years; the second phase was held on October 10. While the urban body polls have seen satisfactory voter turnout in Jammu, the Kashmir valley has recorded a low voter turnout – only 3.4 per cent of 2.20 lakh electorate exercised their votes in the second phase, officials said.

Two key parties in the state — the National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) — have abstained from the elections over the centre’s stand on Article 35-A, making it a contest between the BJP and the Congress. Terrorists had killed two National Conference workers on Friday and threatened against participating in the polls.

As many as eight urban local bodies of the state including several areas of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation would go to polls on Saturday.
The areas going to polls in the downtown and the civil lines in the summer capital here are spread over Khanyar, Amira Kadal and Eidgah assembly segments, which have witnessed dismal voter turnout in the past three decades.

In the first two phases, the voter turnout has been very low in Srinagar with just 6.2 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.
An official told Kashmir Post the election will be held in 20 wards of the SMC, 13 wards of Uri Municipal Committee in northern Kashmir’s Baramulla district and seven wards of Mattan Municipal Committee in southern Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
In Jammu province, he said, election will take place for Samba, Ramgarh, Vijaypur and Bari Brahmana towns- all four in Samba district.

Besides these ULBs, re-poll would also take place in one polling station of Anantnag town, where EVM malfunctioned during the second phase on Wednesday.
Interestingly, no election would take place for Hajin (Bandpora district), Sopore( Baramulla), Tral (Pulwama), Awantipora (Pulwama), Pahalgam (Anantnag), Ashmuqam (Anantnag) and Seer Hamdan (Anantnag) municipal bodies, as the candidates there were either elected unopposed or there were no contestants at all.
Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra this evening said voting will take place at 300 polling stations across the State tomorrow.
“The polling time will be from 6.00 am to 4.00 pm,” he said.
Kabra said that 365 candidates are in the fray for 96 wards. He said 1,93,990 electors are eligible to cast vote in this phase.
The CEO said observers have been deployed, including micro-observers at 222 hypersensitive polling stations in Kashmir division and 19 in Jammu division.
He said that Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State for voting.
He said the government has also declared holiday 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/short absence,” he said.