Held after three decades, two assembly council seats meant for panchayat representatives in the Kashmir region registered unprecedented voting on Monday despite hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and United Jehad Council (UJC) chief Syed Salahuddin opposing it.
"Around 70% voting was recorded in Kashmir till 2pm," said Kashmir divisional commissioner Asgar Samoon.
The polling percentage is likely to cross 85% as per reports received by the Hindustan Times from districts in north and south Kashmir.
Voting started on a slow note in the morning because of cold temperature. Around noon voters queued up at district headquarters across the region.
Enthusiasm can be gauged from female panch Rafiqa Jan, a resident of Ganderbal district, who voted despite undergoing a surgery a day before.
"I came from hospital only to cast my vote. Panchayats will solve our local problems," said Jan.
The polls have come in a year that saw at least six village heads' killed in a spate of militant attacks. There was a wave of militants' campaign asking them to resign or face dire consequences. The threats indeed led to mass resignation on a number of occasions.
"India is using these elections as a tool to justify its occupation in Kashmir. Those who cast votes will damage the Kashmir cause," said hardline Hurriyat chairman Geelani on the eve of the polls, while urging a boycott.
For more details, read Hindustan Times