STATE TIMES NEWS
Srinagar: The fate of nearly 4,200 candidates for the 280 District Development Council (DDC) seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be decided on Tuesday, as counting of votes will begin for the eight-phase polls held for the first time in the union territory.Officials in the State Election Commission said a total of 4,181 candidates, including over 450 women, were in the fray for the the 280 DDC seats.The elections to this third tier of the Panchayati Raj system were held for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir and were the first mass polls after the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 in August 2019.The polling was held over eight phases beginning November 28 and ending on December 19 as 51 per cent of the 57 lakh eligible voters exercised their franchise in the elections, which were largely peaceful.Seven Kashmir-centric mainstream political parties, including the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, contested the polls in an alliance under the banner of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) formed for restoration of Article 370.The Congress was initially a part of the PAGD but distanced itself from the alliance as the BJP targeted the opposition party for being in league with the ‘Gupkar Gang’.
JAMMU: The State Election Commissioner (SEC), KK Sharma on Monday said that the District Development Council (DDC) election results would be accessed online dynamically.While interacting with the media persons here, the SEC stated that the State Election Authority would facilitate people and media alike to access election results and trends on a dynamic basis. These will be available on website: http://ceojk.nic.in, according to an official handout.He said that soon after the randomization and time-tested protocols the ballot boxes would be opened and ballot papers would be mixed subsequently for counting and added the updated information would be given to the people on the website. The SEC added that tomorrow’s counting would decide the fate of 2178 candidates for 280 DDC seats and counting would begin at 9 am. He also informed that the overall voting percentage in all eight phases across the Union Territory is 51.42 percent and tomorrow over thirty lakh votes would be counted at counting centres.While giving a demonstration, Secretary State Election Commission, Anil Salgotra briefed the media persons about the functioning of the website. He said that people along with the media would be able to have access to the counting trends, final results and party-wise trends for all 280 DDC constituencies.He added that the website can also be accessed for trends with respect to particular constituency in a given district and particular party, besides the information for top two leading candidates and the overall votes polled for all the candidates can also be accessed.
Although, the Congress went alone in the last seven phases, it is widely believed that its understanding with the PAGD remains intact.Meanwhile, all necessary arrangements have been made for counting of votes, which will begin at 9 am in all 20 districts of the union territory.The State Election Commissioner, K K Sharma has stated that the State Election Commission has made all necessary arrangements for tomorrow’s counting of votes for District Development Council (DDC) elections which concluded on December 19.The SEC chaired a meeting to review the final arrangements with regard to the counting process to be held tomorrow (December 22).The meeting was attended by all Deputy Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir through video conferencing whileas Secretary State Election Commission and other senior election officers attended the meeting in person.The concerned DCs informed the SEC about all the arrangements of counting of votes for DDCs regarding halls dedicated for counting at counting centres in their respective districts.Each counting hall will have dedicated tables with each table with counting assistants monitored by one counting supervisor.Elaborating further about the process, the SEC said that the process in each centre will be supervised by a Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officer and added that the counting exercise will be recorded by CCTV cameras, and will be overseen by observers also.Explaining the counting of ballot papers, the SEC stated that the counting will begin with opening of ballot boxes and subsequently the ballot papers will be made into bundles of 25 each, and compared with the actual number of votes polled in each polling station.The bundles of each polling station will then be mixed together as per the counting guidelines, he said.The SEC also directed the concerned DCs that COVID-19 protocol must be observed through mandatory masks, and hand sanitisers at each table, besides all the counting staff and other officials should compulsorily wear masks before entering the halls.Also, the SEC complimented the Deputy Commissioners for successfully conducting the DDC and Panchayat by-polls in their respective districts. He also thanked the health department, security forces and police for elaborative arrangements during the polling phases.
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