Polling for five constituencies in the third round of the seven-phased assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday began amid tight security and sub-zero temperatures in many areas, official sources said here.
"The voter turn-out was low this morning due to chilly conditions. However, polling staff took their positions at the polling booths by 7.30 am," the sources said.
About 109 companies of additional security forces besides state police have been deployed at 448 polling booths spread over the five segments -- Karnah, Kupwara, Lolab, Handwara and Langate -- to instill confidence among an electorate of 3,40,000
voters including 1,63,389 women, they said.
Almost all the 448 polling booths have been put under 'hypersensitive' and 'sensitive' categories.
A record number of 71 contestants, including five women, are trying their luck from the constituencies this time as against 43 candidates in 2002 elections.
The women candidates are Shabnum Lone, daughter of slain Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone, Taja Parveen (Independent), Syeda Begum (BSP), Shafeeqa Begum (National Panthers Party) and Shameema Rehman (BSP).
An average 53.15 per cent voting was recorded in these constituencies in 2002 with Karnah recording the highest of 65.37 per cent and Lolab the lowest - 46.89 per cent.
The highest number of candidates fighting from a single assembly segment is Kupwara (19), followed by Langate (15), Karnah (14), Handwara (13) and Lolab (Ten).