Third Phase of J&K Municipal Polls See Overall Turnout of 16.3%

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Voters arrive to cast their votes at a polling center amid tight security during the third phase of Jammu and Kashmir municipal polls, in Srinagar on Saturday. — IANS

The municipal elections that are taking place after 13 years in the state are being held in four phases, covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh voters.

JAMMU/SRINAGAR (IANS) — Voting for the third phase of municipal polls ended peacefully on Saturday in Jammu & Kashmir’s Samba, Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla districts, with an overall turnout of 16.3 per cent.

Samba district recorded the highest voter turnout of 81.5 per cent in the Jammu region, while Baramulla in the Valley recorded a voter turnout of 75.3 per cent.

In Srinagar, a dismal 1.8 per cent of the electorate came out to vote, while Anantnag saw a 3.2 per cent turnout.

Polling started at 6 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m.

As in the previous two phases, there was no major incident of violence anywhere in the state.

In Samba district, polls were held for the four municipal committees of Samba, Ramgarh, Vijaypur and Bari Brahamana.

In Anantnag, voting took place for the Mattan municipal committee, while in Baramulla district people voted for the Uri and Sopore municipal committees.

For the Srinagar municipal corporation, voting was held in four wards.

In the Valley’s Pulwama and Bandipora districts, some candidates were elected unopposed while in the other wards, no candidate had filed papers for the third phase.

A total of 365 candidates are in the fray for 96 wards of eight urban local bodies comprising 193,990 eligible voters.

Additional staff was deployed at polling stations with a large number of voters, poll officials said.

Shaleen Kabra, the state’s Chief Electoral Officer, said the overall poll percentage in the first two phases of the municipal polls that took place on October 8 and 10, was 47.2 per cent.

Observers, including micro-observers, were deployed at 222 hyper-sensitive polling stations in the Kashmir Division and 19 in Jammu Division to ensure a free and fair election, said Kabra.

The municipal elections that are taking place after 13 years in the state are being held in four phases, covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh voters.

The state’s two main parties – National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party – have boycotted the polls, leaving the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress in a direct contest.

A total of 3,372 nominations have been filed for 1,145 wards. Voting for the fourth and final phase of the election will be held on October 16. Counting of votes is scheduled for October 20.

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