With seven constituencies in south Kashmir among the 16 seats going to the District Development Council (DDC) polls in the third phase on Friday, voter turnout is likely to dip further in the Valley.
In Jammu, 17 DDC seats are going to the polls in the third phase.
While the Valley recorded an encouraging 42 per cent turnout in the first phase of DDC polls, it dipped to 34 per cent in the second phase as fewer people turned out to vote in south Kashmir districts.
Among 16 seats in the Valley going to the polls on Friday are eight from south Kashmir, including four from the twin districts of Shopian and Pulwama, which have seen very little turnout in the first two phases. Besides, four seats are in central Kashmir and five from north Kashmir.
In north Kashmir, Wagoora and Sangrama are going to the polls. Sangrama is set to witness a triangular contest – with 13 candidates in the fray, journalist-turned-politician Suhail Bukhari, a People’s Alliance candidate, is up against Jammu Kashmir Apni Party candidate and former legislator Shoaib Lone and Irfan Hafeez, an Independent.
Another interesting contest would be in Wagoora, where Safeena Beig, wife of former PDP patron Muzaffar Hussain Beig, is contesting as an Independent against the joint candidate of the People’s Alliance. While Muzaffar Beig has officially announced quitting PDP, Safeena has not made any formal announcement so far.
Seven seats from south Kashmir will go to the polls tomorrow – two each from Anantnag (Hiller and Khoveripora), Pulwama (Pulwama II and Aripal), Shopian (Shopian I and Shopian II), and Kund constituency in Kulgam.
Five seats from north Kashmir – Wagoora and Sangrama from Baramulla, Hyhama and Qaziabad from Kupwara, and Bonkote from Bandipore – and four from central Kashmir (Ganderbal A, B and C from Ganderbal, and Sukhnag from Budgam) are also going to the polls.
Officials said 305 candidates are in the fray for the 33 seats in J&K – of these 166 are from the Valley and 139 from Jammu region.
In all, 7,37,648 voters – 3,74,604 from Jammu and 3,63,044 from Kashmir – are eligible to vote. The government has set up 2,046 polling stations, including 792 in Jammu and 1,254 in Kashmir.
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