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ULB polls: With over 1,000 candidates, J&K gears for second phase

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Voting to take place from 6 am to 4 pm: CEO

Srinagar, Oct 09: Over 1,000 candidates will contest in the second phase of the urban local bodies polls in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, officials said.

The four phase elections began on October 08 and will end on October 16.

In the first phase polls Monday, in the wake of boycott call by the separatists and threats from militant groups majority of people stayed away from polling booths in Kashmir Valley where the turnout was a paltry 8.3 percent, whereas over 65 percent of the electorate voted in the Jammu and Ladakh divisions of the state.

Polling on Monday was by and large peaceful in the four phase election to urban local bodies, which has been boycotted by two main regional parties -- the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), J&K, Shaleen Kabra this evening said that in the 2nd Phase of Municipal Polls-2018, voting will take place at 544 polling stations across the State tomorrow. The polling time, he said will be from 6.00 am to 4.00 pm.

He said 270 polling stations have been designated for voting in Kashmir division and 274 in Jammu division.

The CEO said 1029 candidates are in the fray for 263 Municipal Wards including 49 in Kashmir and 214 in Jammu, going to polls in Phase-II. He said 881 candidates are in the fray in Jammu division and 148 in Kashmir division for Phase-II.

“In the areas going to polls tomorrow, the total electorate is 346980, with 128104 in Jammu division belonging to 18 Municipal bodies and 218876 in Kashmir division of 5 Municipal bodies,” he said and added that additional poll staff is also being deployed at the polling stations with larger number of electors.

The CEO said that Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State for voting. He said Photo Voter Slips have already been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station.

Officials also said 1,198 nominations were received and after scrutiny and withdrawal, 1,095 contestants are in the fray for the polls.

Out of 1,095 candidate, 65 have won the polls uncontested, including 61 from Kashmir Valley.

They said no polling will take place at 56 wards in the Valley as no nomination was received.

No nomination was submitted in all 13 wards of Frisal Municipal Committee of south Kashmir's Kulgam district, while only one nomination was received for 13 wards of Beerwah Municipal Committee in central Kashmir's Budgam district, officials said.

Frisal, a part of Kulgam Assembly constituency, is represented by lone CPI(M) legislator M Y Tarigami, while Beerwah is represented in the State Assembly by former chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah.

Pertinently, CPI(M) has also boycotted these elections.

A police official said security arrangements have been put in place for the smooth conduct of the polls in all the areas where people would vote Wednesday, including in the 20 wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in the city here.

Kabra also said control rooms have been established in all the Municipal bodies across the State to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) as also to disseminate information to the public. He said adequate security arrangements have been made for smooth conduct of polling across the State.

He said the government has also declared holiday on the day of poll in the municipal areas going to polls so as to enable the voters to cast their vote. He said as per standing guidelines, the Central government offices shall not be closed but the employees who are electors of the poll going wards and desire to exercise their franchise shall be offered reasonable facility- by way of coming late to office/allowed to leave office early/short absence.

The CEO urged voters to exercise their right to franchise in order to choose their local self-government to address to their local needs.

Pertinently, Municipal Elections-2018 are being held in four phases, covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh. A total of 3372 nominations have been filed for 1145 wards.

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