The opening phase of the first-ever District Development Council (DDC) polls across Jammu and Kashmir recorded a voter turnout of 51.7 per cent on Saturday. A total of 3.62 lakh of the nearly seven lakh electorate cast their votes in the local body polls for the first time following the abrogation of J&K’s special status last year.
J&K’s Election Commissioner K K Sharma said that the polling process passed off peacefully except for a stray incident of stone-pelting in Kulgam, of which police have taken cognisance. Out of 3.62 lakh electorates, 1.93 lakh were male while 1.79 lakh were females, he added.
Final voting percentage for the first phase of DDC elections for J&K is 51.76%; with the highest voting percentage in Reasi district of Jammu at 74.62%. Pulwama is lowest at 6.70%. Srinagar recorded 33.76% voting, Anantnag 43.32% and Shopian 42.58%. @IndianExpress – CEO J&K
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While the Jammu division registered 64.2 per cent polling, the Kashmir division saw 40.6 per cent turnout, Sharma said.
Reasi in the Jammu division recorded the highest polling with 74.6 per cent turnout, followed by Rajouri (70.5 per cent), Poonch (68.69 per cent and Samba (68.61 per cent). Similarly, Budgam in Kashmir saw the highest polling with 56.9 per cent turnout, followed by Kupwara (50.74 per cent), Ganderbal (48.60 per cent) and Shopian (42.5 per cent).
Meanwhile, the J&K election commission has prohibited the conduct of any exit poll and publishing/displaying of the result of exit poll by means of the print or electronic media or in any other manner till the last phase of the elections.
In this regard, an order issued by Sharma read, “In exercise of powers conferred under Section 36 of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act 1989, the Election Authority (State Election Commission) hereby prohibits the conduct of any exit poll and publishing or publicizing/displaying the result of exit poll by means of the print or electronic media or in any other manner in the ongoing District development Council Elections in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, till the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in the last phase of these elections, i.e. 2:00 PM on 19th December”.
National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah said it was encouraging to see voters come out to participate in the DDC polls despite the cold weather.
While 124 candidates, including 30 females, were in the fray in 18 constituencies in Jammu division, there were 172 candidates, including 59 females, contesting the polls at 25 places in the Kashmir Valley. The polls form the first test for the Centre’s move to restart the political process after the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh last August.
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