J&K civic polls | Live: Phase 1 polling under way - watsupptoday.com
J&K civic polls | Live: Phase 1 polling under way
Posted 08 Oct 2018 01:58 PM

Agencies
Polling at a slow pace in Kashmir Valley but brisk in Jammu
Srinagar - Amid threats from militants and boycott calls by separatist groups and the two main regional parties, polling began for 422 of the 1,145 wards in the first phase of urban local bodies elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday. A total of 1,204 candidates are in the fray.

Here are the latest updates:

12:40 PM
BJP candidate injured in stone pelting in Bandipora
A BJP candidate, contesting the urban local body polls in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir, was on Monday injured during stone pelting by miscreants, officials said.

Adil Ahmad Buhru, BJP candidate for ward 15 of Bandipora Municipal Committee, was injured when miscreants pelted stones at him at Dachigam while he was on way to cast his vote at a polling station, the officials said.

Mr. Buhru was rushed to a nearby hospital, the official said, adding stone pelting was reported from several areas of Bandipora during the polling.

BJP spokesman Altaf Thakhur condemned the attack on the party candidate, saying those who indulge in violence are scared of democracy.

11:00 AM
Polling at a slow pace in Valley, brisk in Jammu
The pace of polling is slow in Kashmir Valley but brisk in Jammu and the Pir Panjal Valley.

In Kashmir's Baramulla 498 voters cast their ballot, 457 in Srinagar, 260 in Bandipora, 476 in Handwara, 868 in Kupwara, 61 in Anantnag and 18 in Budgam till 10:30 a.m.

In contrast to the Valley, Kashmir region's Leh saw 2,138 voters and Kargil 2,650 voters casting their ballot, as the pace gains momentum there.

In Jammu city, 15% votes polled in Jammu Municipal Corporation until 9 a.m.

The Pir Panjal valley's Rajouri witnessed 65% polling by 10:30 a.m. 40% voters cast their ballot in Sunderbani. In Poonch, 4,191 voters polled by 10 a.m.

Meanwhile, a complete shutdown is observed in all 10 districts of Kashmir valley, including capital Srinagar. Internet services have either been withdrawn in south Kashmir or speed reduced “as a precautionary measure”.

9:00 AM
Voting starts on dull note
Less than 2% of the electorate turned out to cast their votes in 83 wards of urban local bodies in Kashmir in the first two hours of polling.

“Nearly 1600 voters have exercised their franchise till 9.00 am at the 150 pollings stations set up in 83 wards across Kashmir Valley where polling is going on today,” an official said.

Around 85,000 voters including 40,800 women are eligible to vote in the valley. Out of 30,074 voters in three wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, only 417 turned up at heavily-fortified polling stations.

Polling is picking up in north Kashmir as more than 10 per cent of 4,700 voters cast their votes in the first two hours for Kupwara Municipal Committee, followed by 5.5 per cent in Handwara town.

The poll percentage in Bandipora was an abysmal one per cent while Baramulla recorded around 0.8% turnout, the official said.

In Anantnag, only 43 of the 1,639 votes have been cast so far, the official said, adding in Budgam only 12 voters turned up in the first two hours of polling. — PTI


Separatist leaders detained
All top separatist leaders, including Yasin Malik, Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have been detained in Srinagar “as a precautionary measure”.

Bullet-proof bunkers have been set up on all main roads across the Valley to stop fidayeen (suicide) attacks by militants.

“All the arrangements are in place to ensure free, fair, transparent and peaceful conduct of the elections. No restrictions will be imposed anywhere in Kashmir valley. People should come out to vote without any fear,” said Director General Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh.


Regional parties boycott
It’s for the first time ever, J&K’s two main regional parties, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC), are boycotting the polls in protest against the Centre’s stand over the issue of Article 35A and Article 370, which grants special status to J&K.

National parties like CPI(M) and BSP also decided to stay away. The main contest will be between the BJP and its ally Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference and the Congress.

"These elections are imposition. It's worse than 1990s when militancy peaked. Many non-locals were forced to contest. It has brought disrepute to the exercise," said senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar.


Polling under way
Polling is under way on Monday for the first phase of four-phased municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir amidst stringent security arrangements put in place for smooth conduct of the elections.

For the first phase, 78 candidates have already been elected unopposed out of which 69 are from the valley.

Polling began at 7 a.m. on October 8 morning and would end at 4 p.m., officials said.

They said voting will take place at 820 polling stations across the State.

150 polling stations have been designated for voting in Kashmir Division and 670 in Jammu Division. In Kashmir Division, 138 polling stations have been categorised as hypersensitive while in Jammu Division, 52 polling stations have been categorised hypersensitive, the officials said.

They said 1,204 candidates are in the fray for 321 municipal wards, including 83 in Kashmir division and 238 in Jammu division.

The total electorate for the first phase is 5,86,064, the official said.

They said massive security arrangements have been put in place for the smooth conduct of the polls.

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. The next phases take place on 10th, 13th and 16th October.

National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and CPI(M) have boycotted the polls due to the legal challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution in the Supreme Court.

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

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