Aasif Suhaf, New Delhi, Nov 17: In Jammu and Kashmir, an overall 64.5 % voter turnout was recorded in a Kashmir Division in the first phase of nine phased Panchayat elections that concluded peacefully today late afternoon. The Election Commission Office is yet to release the final figures.
The statistics from the districts suggested that in Leh it was 60 % and 77.7 % in Kargil. In Srinagar the voter turnout is 21.8 %, Budgam 30.14 %, Kupwara 70 %, Baramulla 69.1 % and in Bandipora district it was nearly 56.2 %
The polling was held in 47 Panchayat blocks covering 21 blocks in Jammu province, 16 in Kashmir valley and and 10 blocks in Ladakh region.
Three blocks of Bandipora district, five blocks each in Baramulla and Kupwara districts, one each in Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam district went to polls today.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer, 427 candidates are in the fray for 536 Sarpanch Halqas and 5951 candidates for 4048 Panch Wards in the State for which voting and counting is scheduled to be held on Sunday.
The Panchayat polls on non party basis are being held in nine phases in 316 Blocks in 4483 Pachayat Halqas comprising of over 35 Thousand Panch Constituencies.
The 2nd phase is scheduled on Nov 20, 3rd on Nov 24, 4th on Nov 27, 5th on Nov 29 and remaining phases on December 01, 04, 08 and 11.
Adequate security arrangements in villages and poll bound areas had been put in place to ensure smooth and peaceful panchayat polls in the State. High speed mobile internet services had been suspended in poll bound areas in Kashmir region while train services had also been suspended as precautionary security measure.
The last Panchayat elections in the State were held in 2011 after a gap of 20 years and Panchayats completed their term in July 2016.
National Conference and PDP have already announced to boycott the panchayat polls in the State. However, Congress, BJP and other parties participated in Municipal elections and not averse to Panchayat polls.
The “Joint Resistance Leadership” (JRL), an amalgam of separatist political parties, comprising of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik has already called for boycott of these elections in the State.
Meanwhile, the normal life remained affected due to Kashmir wide shutdown on the call of “JRL”against the polls.
(Photo Courtesy: Google Image)