Srinagar: Polling began in 36 wards in the fourth and final phase of the municipal polls in Kashmir valley on Tuesday morning. Polling began at 6 am and is slated to end at 4 pm.
In the final phase, the electorate will seal the fate of 150 candidates in Srinagar and Ganderbal districts. As many as 260 candidates will be contesting for 132 wards.
Security has been beefed up at polling stations, while checkpoints have been set up in Srinagar and Ganderbal, where vehicles and commuters are being searched thoroughly to ensure seamless completion of polls.
Among the three polling phases, maximum voter turnout was recorded in the first phase in Jammu and Kashmir (56.7 per cent), while least voter turnout was registered during the third phase (16.4 per cent).
Three per cent polling was recorded in Srinagar while over nine per cent was recorded till 2 pm in the fourth and final phase of municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.
4.2 percent polling in Kashmir
In the final phase of the Municipal Elections, 4.2 percent polling was recorded in Kashmir.
According to figures released by the chief election officer, the total votes polled during the phase-IV were 9656 of which 5425 were males and 4231 were females.
5:00 pm: In Srinagar, 8121 votes (3.36 pecent) were polled till 3 pm while 859 votes (10.19 percent) were polled in Ganderbal district, officials said.
3:00 pm: According to figures released by the chief election officer, 3 per cent polling was recorded in Srinagar till 2 PM and 9.2 in Ganderbal. Polling began at 6 am amidst stringent security arrangements at 308 polling stations in the twin districts of Srinagar and Ganderbal. It would end at 4 pm.
1:45 pm: According to figures released by the chief election officer, 2.3 percent polling was recorded in Srinagar till 12 pm and 7.9 percent in Ganderbal.
1:20 pm: In the first four hours of polling in the fourth phase, only 1.8 percent electorate have cast their votes. In Srinagar Municipal Corporation, only 3,997 of the 2.42 lakh voters cast their votes in 24 wards so far, the officials said. In Ganderbal , the polling was slightly better where 6.2 per cent of the 8,908 voters exercised their franchise during the same period.
12 pm: Clashes erupted between anti-poll protesters and the government forces in Soura area of Srinagar on Tuesday morning. Reports said that the protests were also held in the area during the night.
On Tuesday morning, youth took to streets and hurled stones on the forces deployed in the area for the conduct of fourth and last phase of municipal polls.
10 am: Very low voter turnout was seen till 10 am in Srinagar. The recorded percentage was 1.6. In Ganderbal, 6.4 percent polling was recorded till 10 am.
Both the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, the two biggest regional political outfits have decided to boycott the elections as they have asked the Government of India to clear its stand on the issue of Article 35-A.
Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh recently appealed political parties in Jammu and Kashmir to participate in the upcoming Panchayat and local body polls.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) also decided not to participate in the polls keeping in view the prevailing situation in the valley.
State Secretary CPI(M) Ghulam Nabi Malik, in a statement said that despite majority of mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir deciding not to participate in these polls shows the arrogance of the BJP-led Central Government.
The Joint Resistance Leaders (JRL) while reiterating their call of ULB, Panchayat polls said that it is a “political gimmick to hoodwink international community”.
Congress, however decided to take part in the polls to keep ‘communal forces away.’
Moreover Sajad Lone’s Poeples Conference has also decided to take part in the civic polls.
The state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said that the regional political parties have boycotted the upcoming Municipal and Panchayat elections due to fear, and added that they have apprehensions that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National conference (NC) will field proxy candidates in the polls.