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J&K reposes trust in Ballot; more than 50% vote in first phase of DDC polls

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Voters’ enthusiasm beats Winter chill; Reasi records highest voter turnout of 74.62 percent, Pulwama finishes at 6.7 percent.

Srinagar/Jammu: In the first electoral exercise in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370, nearly 52 percent turnout was recorded on Saturday in the maiden District Development Council (DDC) polls.

The first round of polling on Saturday in the eight-phase DDC election passed off peacefully, except for a minor incident of stone-pelting in Kulgam.

State Election Commissioner K K Sharma told reporters that 51.76 percent of the 700,842 eligible voters exercised their franchise during the voting which began at 7.00 AM and ended at 2.00 PM.

Reasi in Jammu recorded the highest voter turnout of 74.62 percent while Pulwama in south Kashmir witnessed the least voter participation at 6.7 percent.

Sharma said the voting was peaceful across the Union territory, barring one incident of stone-pelting that took place in Kulgam district of south Kashmir.

In the first phase of the DDC elections, voting was held in 43 constituencies, including 25 in Kashmir, and 1,475 candidates were in the fray, according to officials.

Today’s polling saw 3,62,766 voters including 1,93,375 males and 1,69,391 females out of 7,00,842 voters, casting vote to choose their representatives in their respective councils, the SEC maintained.

Giving the district wise details about the DDC polls, the SEC informed that in Kashmir Division, the polling percentage recorded in Bandipora was 43.57 percent, Baramulla 32.51 percent, Srinagar 33.76 percent, Pulwama 6.70 percent, Shopian 42.58 percent, Kulgam 34.35 percent, Anantnag 43.32 percent voters casted their votes.

Similarly, in Jammu division Kishtwar has voting percentage of 55.16 percent,  Doda 64.49 percent, Ramban 64.21 percent, Udhampur 57.13 percent, Kathua 62.82 percent, Samba 68.61 percent and Jammu 61.49 percent people exercise their right to franchise during first phase of elections.

The SEC also said that the DDC elections will play a decisive role towards development at a grass root level. He informed that the polling went peaceful and smooth across the region. He appreciated every stakeholder for their tireless efforts for the successful conduct of the polling process. Adequate security personals were deployed at all polling stations to ensure the smooth conduct of the polls, he said.

The SEC further informed that arrangements regarding second phase of elections have been put in place which is going to be held in 43 constituencies including 25 in Kashmir division and 18 in Jammu division.

It is the first election since the Centre scrapped Article 370 that gave special status to J&K in August last year and bifurcated the state into UTs.

Meanwhile, despite winter chill, voters’ enthusiasm was visible at scores of constituencies across Jammu and Kashmir during In the first phase of DDC elections today, which saw 25 constituencies in Kashmir and 18 constituencies in Jammu division going for polling.

As the polling started at 7 am in the morning, in Jammu division long queues of voters were witnessed eager to cast their votes. At many places, excitement among youth, particularly first-time voters was visible on their faces.

At many places, women outnumbered men to exercise their franchise. Age or physical health too couldn’t deter voters from exercising their choice at certain places. An official press release cited the instance of Rolha Ram, 92 year old voter who cast his vote at PS Mandrian Akhnoor, and Mushtaq Ahmad, 32-year-old physically-challenged voter in Khri Ramban.

At many rural areas, many voters in their traditional attires had come to the polling booths to cast their votes.

Though Kashmir Valley witnessed relatively less voting, but at many constituencies the voter enthusiasm was visibly discernible. Long queues of voters were seen in Harwan, Khonmoh areas of Srinagar district while as similar scenes were witnessed from Keller Shopian, Larnoo Anantnag, DH Pora Kulgam, Sumbal Bandipora and other areas of Kashmir region.

Likewise, the winter chill didn’t deter the enthusiasm of voters in far off areas of Tulail and Gurez valley of Kashmir division where brisk polling was recorded from the morning hours.

In Jammu division, similar scenes were witnessed at most of the polling stations spread over different constituencies. Here people were seen in long queues at Purmandal, Ramsoo, Mahoo Valley Ramban, Khari, Lathi Marothi, Bani, Lohai Malhar and other areas of Jammu region.

Interestingly, in Mahoo valley Ramban, voters thronged to polling stations in large despite having more than 12 inches of snow. Likewise the far off areas of Jammu region like Marwah and Warwan also witnessed huge enthusiasm among voters.

The voters expressed satisfaction for the facilities made available at the polling booths for the smooth conduct of polls. (With inputs from official press release)

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