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13 districts go to polls today in Jammu and Kashmir, 1094 in fray

The first phase on Monday saw a voter turnout of 8.3% in the Kashmir Valley, while more than 65% of the electorate voted in the Jammu and Ladakh divisions.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2018 00:19 IST
HT correspondent
HT correspondent
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Jammu and Kashmir polls,Jammu and Kashmir,J-K elections
Security personnel stands guard as people wait in queues to cast their votes for municipal elections in Ranbir Singh Pura near Jammu on Monday. (PTI Photo)

More than 380 local bodies spread across 13 districts will go to polls in the second phase of the urban local bodies’ elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday amid a shutdown called by the separatists in the poll-bound areas.

The elections, to be held in four phases, began on October 8 and will end on October 16.

The first phase on Monday saw a voter turnout of 8.3% in the Kashmir Valley, while more than 65% of the electorate voted in the Jammu and Ladakh divisions. Two main regional parties, the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, have boycotted the polls.

The second phase will cover 384 wards (166 in Kashmir and 218 in Jammu) spanning 13 districts — six in Jammu and seven in the Valley, officials said, adding 1,094 contestants are in the fray. Of these, 65 candidates, including 61 in Kashmir, have won the polls uncontested. No polling will take place at 56 wards in the Valley as no nomination was received.

Chief electoral officer Shaleen Kabra, said the polling time, increased by one hour, will be between 6 am and 4 pm.

Meanwhile, separatists asked people to observe a shutdown in the areas going to polls in second phase in these “sham elections”.

Joint Resistance Leadership, comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Mohammad Yasin Malik, in a statement, said, “People will show their total disconnect and dismissal by staying away and boycotting this drama.”

Kathua deputy commissioner, Rohit Khajuria, however, said tight security arrangements have been made and central forces stationed at polling stations to help carry out free and fair polls. “We are hopeful of a good voter turnout in a peaceful atmosphere,” he said.

The decision of going ahead with the polls is being seen as part of the Centre’s efforts to turn the tide in the state where violence has escalated since Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s killing in July 2016.

First Published: Oct 10, 2018 00:06 IST