Putting a question mark on the credibility of the municipal polls in the valley, 131 out of 187 municipal seats that are going to polls have been either left blank or the candidates have been elected uncontested in the first two phases.
In at least four municipal bodies, more than half of the seats have been drawn blank as no candidate has filed his nomination paper. The partial figures released by the Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra, on Wednesday, reveal that not a single candidate has filed his nomination papers from Frisal municipality in south Kashmir’s Kulgam. Frisal municipality has 13 wards. In Beerwah municipality of central Kashmir’s Budgam, only one candidate has filed his nomination papers from the 13 wards of the municipality leaving the 12 wards without any candidate.
In south Kashmir’s Bijbehara Municipality only five candidates have submitted their nomination forms. The Bijbehara municipality has 17 wards and there is no candidate contesting for 12 wards of the municipality. Similarly, in Yaripora municipality of south Kashmir’s Kulgam, only three candidates have filed nomination in the six wards of the municipality.
In central Kashmir’s Chadoora municipality that has 13 wards, there is no candidate for five wards while eight candidates have been elected unopposed ensuring there are no polls in the municipality.
Similarly, there would be no elections in Qazigund, Achabal, Devsar, Kulgam and Khansahib municipalities. In Kulgam town, there is no candidate for the eight out of 13 wards while five candidates have been elected unopposed. In Qazigund, out of the seven wards, three have been left blank while candidates on four seats have been elected unopposed. In eight wards of Achabal municipality, three have been left blank while candidates on five seats are elected unopposed. All the eight candidates in the eight wards of Devsar in south Kashmir’s Kulgam have been elected unopposed. Similarly, in Khansahib municipality in central Kashmir’s Budgam, all the seven candidates have been elected unopposed.
In Budgam municipality of central Kashmir, there would be a contest for only one municipal seat out of the 13. While three seats have drawn blank in the municipality, 9 candidates have been elected unopposed. When asked that lots of seats have gone uncontested, Chief Electoral Officer Kabra said: “it is people’s choice”.
After keeping the details of nominations secret for a week, CEO Kabra released figures only for the municipal bodies that go to elections in the first two phases of the polls starting October 8. The most volatile regions of the valley, especially Shopian and Pulwama district in south Kashmir, and Sopore and Hajin in north Kashmir are going to polls in third and fourth phases and the participation in these areas is expected to lower.
The figures reveal that the candidates will fight it out in Kupwara, Handwara and Bandipore municipalities and the Baramulla Municipal Council. In Kupwara, the candidates at two seats have been elected unopposed out of 13 seats while 43 candidates are in the fray for the rest 11 wards. In Handwara, candidates in six wards have been elected unopposed while 29 candidates are in the fray for the other seven wards. In Bandipore, forty candidates will contest for the 12 wards while a candidate for one ward has been elected unopposed.
In Baramulla Municipal Council, candidates in six out of 21 wards have been elected unopposed while 40 candidates are in the fray for the other 15 wards.
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