71.1% voting in J&K election

The fifth phase of panchayat elections in J&K on Thursday saw a 33.7% turnout in the Kashmir division and a high 85.2% in the Jammu division. “Overall poll percentage stood at 71.1,” Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shaleen Kabra said. Pulwama registered a mere 0.5% and Anantnag 10.1%. The south Kashmir areas witnessed frequent encounters took place between militants and security forces this year. “This has been a year of funerals in our area. People decided to stay away to send across a message that unless the larger issue of Kashmir is addressed, these polls may not bring significant changes to our lives,” said Nazir Lone, a resident of Pulwama. Ganderbal and Budgam in central Kashmir showed a slightly better turnout at 20.3% and 34.8%. There was perceptibly more enthusiasm in north Kashmir, with Kupwara recording a 42.5% turnout, Bandipora 34.6% and Baramulla 32.9%. “We voted to have an interface to address local issues locally,” said Ahmad Dar, a resident of Kupwara. Massive polling In contrast with Kashmir, the Jammu division witnessed massive polling since the morning. “Doda recorded 83.3%, Ramban 85.2%, Udhampur 82%, Reasi 89.1%, Jammu 88.9 %, Rajouri 82.8% and Poonch 84.5%,” Mr. Kabra said. There were no reports of poll-related violence anywhere. Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam complimented the civil and police administration for a free, fair and peaceful election amid a challenging situation. At least 848 polling stations were categorised as hypersensitive — 755 in Kashmir division and 93 in Jammu division. “A total of 4763 candidates were in the fray for 309 sarpanch and 1534 panch seats. At least 118 sarpanchs and 1046 panchs were elected unopposed in this phase,” Mr. Kabra said.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/711-voting-in-jk-election/article25628090.ece

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