Nearly 40 per cent cast vote in J&K till 1 pm

13

Jammu, November 28: Nearly 40 per cent of the seven lakh electorate exercised their right of franchise during the first phase of the first ever District Development Council elections being held in 43 constituencies spread over all the districts of Jammu and Kashmir till 1:00 PM Saturday.

The State Election Commission has fixed polling time from 7 am to 2 pm, it was likely to continue for some time more as there were queues at some polling booths in Jammu division. The poll percentage was finally likely to go beyond 60 per cent, sources said.

While polling started on a brisk note in Jammu division, it was low in Kashmir Valley in the morning. However, it picked up later in the day.

There were long queues at polling stations even in remote districts like Kishtwar, Poonch in Jammu division. A 100-year old Ambo Devi was brought by her son Kaku Ram at Sohal Higher Secondary School for exercising her right to franchise, while an  80-year-old  Simro Devi was standing in queue at the same polling station.

West Pakistani refugees also cast their vote in the DDC elections, though their number was not much in areas where first phase of polling took place. “Today is a historic day. Hindu-Sikh refugees from Pak, Valmikis and Gorkhas, all victims of atrocious Articles 35A and 370, today exercising their right to vote for the first time in 73 years. It’s a great moment for the nation and a tight slap on the pro-Pak and pro-China Gupkar Gang headed by Farooq Abdullah,’’ tweeted Prof Hari Om, a retired Jammu University professor,  a well known columnist and political analyst.

As per the figures given by the office of State Election Commissioner, in Kashmir Division, Kupwara has recorded voting percentage of 34.1077%, Bandipora 34.1833%, Baramulla 25.58%, Ganderbal 36.2623%, Srinagar 29.944%, Budgam 47.4477%, Pulwama 6.08333 %, Shopian 22.375%, Kulgam 24.4948% and Anantnag 26.6565% till 01:00 PM.

Similarly, in Jammu division, Kishtwar has recorded voting percentage of 27.1467%, Doda 50.6346%, Ramban 54.9191%, Reasi 56.176%, Udhampur 45.0352 %, Kathua 54.2351%, Samba 59.2913%, Jammu 48.9676 %, Rajouri 57.731% and Poonch 55.4848% till 01:00 PM.

A total of 296 candidates are in the fray in 43 DDC constituencies which had the first phase of polling today. While 124 candidates including 30 females are in the fray in 18 constituencies in Jammu division, another 172 candidates including 59 females are contesting the DDC polls at 25 places in Kashmir Valley.

During the first ever DDC elections being held in Jammu and Kashmir, all the 20 districts in the UT have been divided into 14 constituencies each. The elections to all of them are being held in eight phases through ballot paper beginning November 28.

Apart from DDC polls, by-elections for 1,088 sarpanch and an over 12,000 panch constituencies are also being held during these held phases. Of them, 43 Sarpanch and 368 panch constituencies are going to polls in the first phase on Saturday. While 279 candidates including 89 females are in the fray for 43 sarpanch constituencies, there are 852 candidates including 217 females contesting the election for panch in constituencies going to polls during the first phase.

So far 36 Sarpanches and 768 panches stand elected unopposed much before the first phase of polling. Most of these candidates are in Kashmir Valley.