October 2018 News
Municipal Poll Process Ends In Jammu And Kashmir With Overall 35.1 % Turnout16 October 2018
Srinagar: The four-phase polling for all 79 urban local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir ended Tuesday, recording an overall 35.1 per cent voter turnout in the state. The turnout for the final phase of elections, which was held only for two municipal bodies in Kashmir, remained low as usual at 4.2 per cent. 'The overall voting percentage for the urban local bodies of the state was 35.1 per cent,' said an election department official, adding the turnout for the final phase, held only for two municipal bodies in valley was 4.2 percent. A total of 35.1 percent people, numbering around 5.97 lakh out of nearly 17 lakh voters exercised their franchise during the entire four-phase electoral process, held amid tight security with even candidates' identities having been kept secret due to militant threats. While the valley voters largely gave a cold shoulder to the polls, boycotted by the two major regional players NC and PDP, Jammu and Ladakh regions saw massive participation of people in the poll process. The counting of votes will be held on October 20. According to election officials, the first phase of polling for civic bodies on October 8 recorded 65 percent voter turnout in Jammu division and 62.1 per cent in Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh. The valley, however saw a meagre 8.2 per cent electorates casting their votes that day. In the second phase of polling held on 10 October, Jammu division civic bodies went one notch higher, clocking a poll percentage of 78.6 per cent but the municipal bodies in Kashmir registered a measly 3.4 per cent turnout. The third phase was almost a repeat of the second one with Jammu division registering 81.4 per cent turnout against a paltry 3.5 per cent poll percentage in Kashmir. The valley witnessed no signs of electioneering in run up to the polls as militant outfits had threatened to target those taking part in the elections in any form while separatist groups like Hurriyat Conference had called for a boycott. The election authorities kept secret even the identities of the contesting candidates owing to the security threat to them, prompting political parties, which were against the conduct of polls in the present circumstances, to question the authenticity of the process. The killing of two National Conference workers just three days ahead of the first phase of polling forced many candidates to either withdraw their nominations or make public their dissociation with the poll process through social media. Of the 598 wards in Kashmir, 231 candidates were elected unopposed while there were no candidates on 181 wards. Barring some minor incidents of stone pelting, the polling in all the four phases of polling passed off peacefully.