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Phase VI of Panchayat polls witness 76.9% turnout

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Only 17.3% vote in Kashmir

Srinagar, Dec 01: In the sixth phase of Panchayat polls across Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, an estimated 76.9 percent electorate, highest so far, exercised their franchise, state’s Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra said.

A massive 84.6 percent polling was witnessed in Jammu division, while only 17.3 percent polling– which incidentally was the lowest compared to the previous five phases– was recorded in Kashmir division, Kabra said.

Giving district-wise details, Kabra said, Ganderbal district in central Kashmir recorded the highest voting (41.5 percent) followed by Bandipora (35.3 percent), Srinagar (12.5 percent), Baramulla (12.1 percent), Budgam (9 percent), Anantnag (7.3 percent) and Kulgam (4.6 percent).

Like previous phases, Jammu division, however, recorded heavy turnout with Udhampur district topping the chart with 88.5 percent of the people casting their votes.

Jammu district recorded 87.1 percent voting followed by Reasi (85.6 percent), Samba (84.7 percent), Kathua (84 percent), Rajouri (83.6 percent), Poonch (81.8 percent), Ramban (81.5 percent) and Doda (80.4 percent), Kabra said.

In the first phase of the panchayat elections held on November 17, an estimated 74.1 percent polling was recorded across J&K including 64.5 percent in Kashmir division and 79.4 percent in Jammu division.

In the second phase held on November 20, overall 71.1 percent polling was witnessed with an overwhelming 80.4 percent polling in Jammu and 52.2 percent in Kashmir.

In the third phase, the state witnessed a polling percentage of 75.2 percent which included 55.7 percent voting in Kashmir division and 83 percent in Jammu division.

In the fourth phase, the state witnessed 71.3 percent voting with 82.4 percent electors exercising their franchise in Jammu division and 32.3 percent in Kashmir division.

In the fifth phase, an overall poll percentage of 71.1 percent was witnessed across the state with 85.2 percent polling in Jammu and 33.7 percent in Kashmir.

Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam was camping in Srinagar to monitor the election process in the Valley, an official spokesperson said.

On behalf of Governor Satya Pal Malik, he complimented the civil and police administration for ensuring another phase of free, fair and peaceful polls to strengthen the democracy at the grassroots level, spokesperson said.

The polling for the sixth phase of the nine-phased panchayat elections began at 3,174 polling stations – 410 in the Kashmir division and 2,764 in the Jammu division at 8 am and concluded at 2 pm, the spokesman said.

A total of 771 polling stations– 410 in the Kashmir division and 361 in the Jammu division– were categorised as hypersensitive.

As many as 7,156 candidates were in the fray for 406 sarpanch and 2,277 panch seats in the sixth phase, while 111 sarpanches and 1,048 panches were elected unopposed, the spokesman said.

A total of 5,97,396 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise for the Sarpanch constituencies and 4,57,581 for the Panch constituencies.

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