Voting for the eighth phase of Jammu and Kashmir panchayat election has begun across the state amidst heightened security, reports said. The polling started at 8 am as scheduled and will go on till 2 pm, reports said.
According to ANI, while 43 sarpanch and 681 panch have been elected unopposed, polling will take place for 331 sarpanch and 2007 panch seats, with 6,304 candidates in the fray. An electorate of 5,15,121 will be voting for sarpanch constituencies and 4,19,775 for panch constituencies.
In this phase, 2633 polling stations have been set up — 550 in Kashmir division and 2083 in Jammu division. Of these, 361 have been categorised as 'hypersensitive', including 171 in Kashmir division and 190 in Jammu division.
As per the Election Commission, Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations for facilitating the voters. Security arrangements have also been made including the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).
Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shaleen Kabra told PTI that senior government officers have been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of the panchayat elections.
"Also, Expenditure Observers are keeping a watch on the expenditure by the candidates. In addition, for the poll day, Micro Observers have been placed in polling stations, particularly those considered hypersensitive. Besides, the Zonal and Sector Magistrates too have been deployed," he added.
The CEO said Control Rooms have been established in all the districts across the state to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the model code of conduct as also to disseminate information to the public.
He also said the government has declared holiday on the day of polls in the panchayat areas to enable the voters to cast their vote. A special casual leave shall also be granted to the employees who have to go to other areas to exercise their right to franchise.
As per the standing guidelines, the central government offices shall not be closed but the employees who are voters of the wards going to polls Saturday shall be offered reasonable facility to exercise their franchise, he added.
In the seventh phase of polling, an overall voter turnout of 75.3 percent was recorded in the state, with Jammu division witnessing a voter turnout of 84.8 percent and Kashmir division recording a voter turnout of 30.3 percent.
Polling took place on Tuesday in as many as 30 blocks in 15 districts of the state. These include 14 blocks of six districts in Jammu region and 16 blocks falling in nine districts of Kashmir Valley.
Reasi district witnessed the highest voter turnout of 86.7 percent followed by Poonch (86.6 percent) and Rajouri (84 percent). More than 5,550 candidates contested for 341 sarpanch and 1,798 panch seats in this phase.
The ninth and last phase of polling is slated to be held on December 11.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Dec 08, 2018 09:00:16 IST