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51.5% turnout recorded in 6th phase of DDC polls: SEC

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Jammu: Over 51.5 percent of 7.48 lakh electorates exercised their franchise on Sunday in the sixth phase of the District Development Council (DDC) elections, which covered 31 constituencies spread over 18 districts of Jammu and Kashmir, State Election Commissioner K K Sharma said.

The polling started at 7 am and ended at 2 pm peacefully across the Union Territory, with Jammu division recording 68.56 percent voting and Kashmir division registering 31.55 percent, Sharma told reporters here.

He said Poonch district in Jammu recorded the highest voter turnout of 76.78 percent, while Shopian district in south Kashmir the lowest at 4.60 percent.

In Jammu division, where most parts were engulfed by dense fog early in the morning, enthusiastic voters started thronging the polling booths even before the start of the voting.

Poonch district was followed in the voter turnout by Rajouri at 74.03 percent, Reasi 74.02 percent, Udhampur 72.04 percent, Ramban 71.34 percent, Samba 70.01 percent, Jammu 66.32 percent, Doda 62.93 percent and Kathua 60.95 percent, Sharma said.

Similarly, in Kashmir division, where most parts are reeling under sub-zero temperatures after the recent snowfall, Ganderbal recorded a voter turnout of 58.45 percent, followed by Kupwara at 51.08 percent), Bandipora 47.66 percent, Kulgam 37.74 percent, Baramulla 34.56 percent, Budgam 30.99 percent, Anantnag 24.06 percent, Pulwama 8.16 percent and Shopian 4.60 percent, he said.

In the sixth phase of the DDC polls, voting was held in 31 DDC constituencies — 14 in Kashmir division and 17 in Jammu division.

For smooth conduct of the elections, 2,071 polling stations — 1,208 in Kashmir division and 863 in Jammu division – were set up for this phase, where 7,48,301 electors — 3,90,432 male and 3,57,869 female voters — were eligible to exercise their right to franchise.

The maiden DDC elections, to be conducted in eight phases, commenced on November 28, and so far voters in 221 constituencies, out of total 280 across 20 districts, have registered their choice.

While the first phase on November 28 recorded the highest 51.76 percent polling, the subsequent phases on December 01, 04, 07 and 10 witnessed 48.62 percent, 50.53 percent, 50.08 percent and 51.20 percent polling, respectively.

The DDC polls, which are being held along with by-elections to Panchayats, is the first democratic exercise in Jammu and Kashmir since it was made a Union Territory last year.

Counting of votes is slated to take place on December 22.

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