Polling under way for last phase of municipal polls in J&K, Srinagar recorded 2.3%, Ganderbal 7.9% polls till 12

Partial shutdown across Kashmir Valley, Clashes in Soura

Polling was under way for the fourth and last phase of municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir to seal the fate of 156 candidates in fray in Srinagar and Ganderbal districts.

They said the voting would take place at 308 polling stations across the state and would end at 4 pm.

Eight municipal bodies spanning across six districts–all in Kashmir Valley–were scheduled to go to polls in the fourth and final phase of the elections. However, out of the eight, only two will see voting while there will be no contest in the rest of the six bodies.
The rest of the bodies–Pattan in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, Pampore, Pulwama and Khrew in Pulwama district in south, Shopian Municipal Committee in Shopian district in south and Dooru Verinag in Anantnag district also in south Kashmir will see no voting either because the candidates won unopposed or no nominations were submitted.

The officials said 156 candidates are in the fray for 37 wards of two urban local bodies for the fourth phase comprising a total electorate of 2,50,794 electors.

They said 12 wards are going to polls in Municipal Committee Ganderbal with a total electorate of 8,491 voters where 38 candidates are in the fray and voting will take place at 12 polling stations.

For 24 wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) with a total electorate of 2,41,043, 113 candidates are in the fray and 295 polling stations have been established for the purpose, the officials said.

They said repoll is taking place at Polling Station 9–Bachidarwaza of Makhdoom Sahab (ward number 41)–where five candidates are in the fray with a total electorate of 1,260.

The officials said massive security arrangements had been put in place for the smooth conduct of the polls.

Almost all poll bound areas in Srinagar city observed shutdown on Tuesday following the boycott and strike call given by Joint Resistance Leadership.

However, situation in areas including Lal Chowk, where no polling was scheduled for the day, has been normal.

Clashes were reported in Srinagar’s Soura area. Witnesses said dozens of youth were engaged in clashes early morning Tuesday and government forces used teargas shells to disperse the protestors.

Municipal elections, covering 79 municipal 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.

Srinagar has recorded lowest 2.3 percent voter turnout till 12 noon in the fourth phase of Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections.

In Ganderbal district 7.9 percent polling was recorded till 12: noon.

At 10: am 1.6 percent voter turnout was witnessed in Srinagar and 6.4 percent in Ganderbal.

At 8: am 0.4 percent polling was recorded in Srinagar and 3.7 percent n Ganderbal.

Voting for the last phase of ULB polls began at 6: am amid tight security in Kashmir on Tuesday. The polling will end at 4 pm.

Polling is taking place in 36 wards and electorate would seal the fate of 150 candidates in the final phase of ULB polls in Ganderbal and Srinagar district.

In Municipal Committee Ganderbal 12 wards were going to polls with a total electorate 8,491 voters where 38 candidates were in the fray and voting is taking place at 12 polling stations.

For 24 wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) with a total electorate of 24,1043, 113 candidates are in the fray and 295 polling stations have been established for the purpose, officials said.

They said re-polling is also taking place at Polling Station number nine – Bachidarwaza of Makhdoom Sahab (ward number 41) – where five candidates are in the fray with a total electorate of 1260.

The National Conference, along with PDP and CPI(M), have boycotted the polls due to the legal challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution in the Supreme Court.

The voter turnout in the first two phases of the civic polls in the valley has been low. While 8.3 per cent of the electorate turned up to vote in the 83 wards in the first phase on October 8, the poll percentage fell to an abysmal 3.4 per cent in the second phase held on October 10. The third phase of polling for civic bodies in Kashmir on October 13 witnessed a low turnout of just 3.49 per cent, in line with the trend set in the first two phases.

The government has declared a holiday on the day of poll in the municipal areas going to polls so as to enable the voters to cast their vote.