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No candidates in 177 municipal wards of Valley

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215 wards return their representative unopposed: BJP gets majority in Shopian as 13 candidates get elected unopposed

Srinagar, Oct 03: Not a single candidate has filed nomination papers for 177 municipal wards out of a total 624 in the Kashmir Valley, while 215 wards will return their representative unopposed.

The filing of nomination papers for the four-phase municipal polls ended on Tuesday. Voting is scheduled for October 08, 10, 13 and 16.

Given the situation of zero candidates in 177 wards, over one lakh electorate would not be exercising their voting rights.

Another one lakh voters in 215 other wards would also not exercise their franchise as each of these wards has just one contestant.

In south Kashmir districts of Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian, 177 municipal wards did not witness any filing of nomination papers.

The rest had just one candidate left in the fray.

The peaceful conduct of Municipal and Panchayat elections would be a major challenge for the Governor’s administration.

Authorities have promised personal security and secured lodgings to contestants in these polls.

A total of 400 additional companies of paramilitary forces were to be deployed to ensure peaceful conduct of these polls.

The National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have decided not to participate in these elections.

Meanwhile, BJP will control the municipality in militancy-infested Shopian district of south Kashmir after 13 of its candidates won the civic body polls unopposed with most people preferring to maintain a distance from the electoral exercise following threats by militant groups.

The Shopian district, which has been the battle ground of numerous encounters between militants and the government forces, has a 17-member municipal committee. The BJP fielded candidates for 13 wards while no nomination was filed for the remaining seats.

“We had only one nomination each for 13 wards while no nominations were received for four other wards of the Municipal Committee, Shopian,” an election official said Wednesday.

The state BJP claimed it was a “historic win”. Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina said “our motto is development of all and we will do justice to all kinds of people. We are extremely happy”.

However, political observers do not read much into the BJP’s ‘victory’ and feel that these elections were ‘meaningless’ after the state’s major political parties — National Conference and People Democratic Party — decided to boycott the elections over the legal challenge to Article 35-A of the Constitution in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, fear of militant groups pushed the state electoral machinery into the secrecy mode to ensure that the names of the winning candidates or those who filed nominations were not leaked. (With PTI inputs)

16.97 lakh electors eligible to vote in 4-phased ULB polls in J&K

Jammu, Oct 03: Around 17 lakh electors are eligible to vote in the four-phased local body and municipal polls in Jammu and Kashmir from October 08, an Election department official said.

Two major regional players – National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – have boycotted the urban local body (ULB) and panchayat polls in the state.

“As many as 16,97,291 electors are eligible to exercise their franchise in 1,145 wards across the state of J&K in four phases from October 08,” a senior Election department officer was quoted as saying by PTI.

Out of the total 1,145 wards of municipality and local bodies, 90 wards have been reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and 38 for Scheduled Tribes (ST), which include 31 and 13 wards reserved for SC and ST women, respectively, he said.

In addition to this, 322 wards have been reserved for women belonging to open category, the officer said.

The Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has the highest number of 6,63,775 electors with 74 wards followed by the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) with 75 wards and 4,00,301 electors, he said.

The first phase of polling will be undertaken on October 08, followed by the second phase on October 10, third phase on October 13 and the fourth and final phase on October 16, the election officer said.

The counting of votes will be taken up on October 20.

Even as posters displaying the names of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress candidates besides the Independents have come up in Jammu, the poll officials refused to disclose the details of candidates in the Kashmir Valley.

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