Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Election 2018 Voting HIGHLIGHTS: Security personnel stands guard as people wait in queues to cast their votes for municipal elections in Ranbir Singh Pura near Jammu on Monday. (PTI)
The first phase of the Jammu and Kashmir urban local body elections saw a bleak voter turnout as only 8.3 per cent eligible voters in militancy-hit Kashmir Valley came out to exercise their franchise on Monday, PTI reported. Pollings in 321 wards of 11 districts of J&K, which started at 7 am and continued till 4 pm, were largely peaceful despite few incidents of stone pelting being reported from some areas. Some 1,204 candidates were in fray for the first phase of the polls.
Kargil and Leh regions recorded high voter turnouts of 78 per cent and 52 per cent respectively, an official told PTI.
In north Kashmir, the Kupwara Municipal Committee recorded a high voter turnout of 36.6 per cent, while the Handwara Municipal Committee recorded voting figures of 27.8 per cent.
After the National Conference and the PDP announced to boycott the municipal polls, the contest is largely between the Congress, the BJP and a large number of independent candidates. Of the 598 seats in the Valley, at least 236 will be uncontested. Another 184 have received no nominations.
Voting begins for the first phase of the Jammu and Kashmir urban local bodies elections. Get LIVE UPDATES here.
On Sunday, senior police officials told The Indian Express that while security has already been in place for the polls, checking of vehicles has been further intensified in all districts of the Valley, especially in areas where polling will be held Monday. They said 400 more companies of central forces are also engaged for the polls. “Checkpoints have been set up in all areas, and vehicle (checking) has been intensified. We are taking all measures with regard to security and otherwise to ensure smooth polls,” said a J&K Police officer. Candidates have been provided security and accommodated at safe areas, officers said.
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