Jammu and Kashmir panchayat polls: 74 percent polling recorded in first phase, minor clashes reported in Poonch

Jammu: Defying militant threats and boycott calls by separatists, 64.5 percent of electorate voted in the first phase of panchayat elections in Kashmir while an impressive turnout of 79.5 percent was recorded in Jammu region on Saturday.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shaleen Kabra said the state recorded 74.1 percent polling in the first phase of Panchayat elections on Saturday held in 47 blocks, including 16 blocks in Kashmir, 21 in Jammu and 10 in Ladakh region.

Kabra said the polling passed off peacefully, except for minor clashes and stone-pelting incidents in Mendhar in Poonch district.

Repolling has been ordered at a polling centre in Atholi in Kishtwar district due to technical snag, the official said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The turnout in rural areas was significantly higher in Kashmir Valley unlike during the recent urban local bodies elections where barely four per cent of the electorate voted.

Separatists who asked people to boycott the polls had called for a strike Saturday. Major regional parties — the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party — had decided not to participate in the local bodies polls.

As per officials, total polling percentage in Kashmir division was recorded 64.5 percent as 1.05 lakh of 1.63 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the Valley on Saturday, they said.

Giving details, they said Srinagar district recorded 21.8 percent followed by 30.14 percent in Budgam, 70 percent in Kupwara, 69.1 percent in Baramulla, 56.2 percent in Bandipora, 60 percent in Leh and 77.7 percent in Kargil.

The total polling percentage in Jammu division was 79.5 percent as 2.35 lakh voters out of 2.95 lakh voted, they said.

In Jammu region, polling percent in Kishtwar was recorded 74.1 percent, 78.9 percent in Rajouri, 78.7 percent in Poonch, 83.6 percent in Udhampur, 80.8 percent in Doda, 80 percent in Kathua and 78.2 percent in Ramban, they added.

The officials said the total number of electorate in Kashmir was 1,35,774.

There will be eight more phases of panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

The first phase polling was held in 47 blocks, including 16 blocks in Kashmir, 21 in Jammu and 10 in Ladakh region.

The polls are being held after a delay of two years when the state is under the Governor's rule. The counting of votes will be held on 27 November.

A senior BJP leader of Jammu and Kashmir and his brother were shot dead by suspected militants in Kishtwar district Thursday night, officials said.

Ahead of the polls on 31 October, BJP state secretary Anil Parihar and his brother Ajeet were shot dead by suspected militants while they were returning from their shop in Kishtwar district.

The two were fired upon from close range at a dark, narrow lane leading to their house, officials had said.

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Updated Date: Nov 17, 2018 21:14:59 IST

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