J&K people reaffirm faith in democracy: SEC

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51 pc voting recorded in final phase across J&K

STATE TIMES NEWS

KUPWARA: State Election Commissioner (SEC), K.K Sharma on Saturday said that people’s participation and peaceful conduct of eight phased elections is explicitly showing that people of Jammu and Kashmir have reaffirmed their faith in democracy and democratic setup.

Women, old, young voters thronged booths in large numbers across Jammu Div

JAMMU: The voter across all the age groups and gender today flocked polling booths amid last phase of District Development Council and Panchayat Elections held for 15 DDC constituencies in 10 districts of Jammu Division.
The Fate of 85 contesting candidates has to be decided in the polling held for Kishtwar and Trigam DDC Constituencies in Kishtwar District, DDC constituency Keerian Gandyal in Kathua District; Ramnagar-I and Ramnagar -II DDC constituencies in Udhampur district; Khaur DDC Constituency in Jammu district; Rajghar DDC Constituency in Ramban District, Assar DCC Constituency in Doda District; Samba-A and Samba-B DDC Constituencies in Samba district; Mankote and Mendhar-c DDC Constituency in Poonch district; Sunderbani and Darhal DDC Constituency in Rajouri District and Reasi DDC Constituency in Reasi district.
Like in past seven phases, the polling for phase -8 too was held peacefully amid huge participation of voters across all groups and genders. First Time voter Taniya, 18 cast her vote at Polling booth DPC Pacca Chumber- DDC constituency Keerian Gandyal in Kathua District, while centenarian Kamlo Devi (100) voted at Polling Booth Kainta and specially abled, Memma Begum, 29 voted at Polling Booth Basantpur of the same DDC Constituency. Another First time voter Kamani Sharma, voted at Government Middle School Dhaleri- Khour – Jammu District. Same trend of huge female participation was witnessed in Chenab region districts of Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban. Ram Rakhi,89 voted at PS village Mari at DDC Constituency Reasi, specially abeld, Hanifa Begum polled her vote at Middle School Rajgarh-Ramban. Serpentine queues of the female voters were seen in Assar amid chilling climatic condition. The maiden DDC elections in J&K UT have witnessed huge participation of women voters across the age-groups in all phases. Primarily being the rural elections, the participation of the village female folk is being viewed as a very encouraging sign for the democracy and democratic participation in the UT.
Several elderly and first time male voters, including centenarians also voted at different polling booths. Among them Dev Singh, 90 cast his vote at Polling Booth GMS Pallanwala- Khour Block, Jammu District, while Tittru Din, 120 cast his vote at Polling Booth GMS Karroh, block Keerian Gandyal, Kathua and Mohammad Akram, 90 casted his vote at Assar, Doda. Similarly octogenarian Mohammad Latief voted at Darhal, while West Pakistani Refugee Jai Singh voted for the first time in a local elections at Polling Booth Budwal- Khour Block. Among the young voters, Amit Kumar, 19 voted at PS, Government Primary School Chumber Panchayat, Keerian Gandyal. 

During his visit to DDC Constituency Wavoora in district Kupwara, the State Election Commissioner said that polling and electoral process remained successful in Jammu and Kashmir and people voted enthusiastically, adding that about 40% voter turnout was registered in Kashmir valley during last 7 phases. He said the objective of the State Election Commission was to conduct free and fair election which, he added, was committed with the people’s participation and hard-work of government functionaries. Sharma added that all SOPs of COVID-19 were strictly implemented and masks and sanitizers were made available at polling stations.
The SEC was accompanied by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, P.K. Pole; Inspector General of Police, Vijay Kumar; Deputy Commissioner Kupwara, Anshul Garg; Additional Deputy Commissioner Kupwara, Nazir Ahmad Lone and concerned RO.
Replying to media persons regarding extension of polling time beyond 2PM, the SEC said that 2PM concluding time is implemented across the country uniformally and the decision was implemented here also to ensure the security and safety of polling staff and police personnel. He said the voters who were within the premises of polling stations, had voted smoothly. The people of Kashmir are well versed with their rights, he added.
The SEC visited 02 polling stations viz. Potushai and Wavoora, where 220 out of 453 and 380 out of 505 voters cast their votes till 12 noon respectively.
The SEC interacted with polling staff, party polling agents, health workers and security personnel and enquired about facilities and arrangements provided by administration.
Late in the evening, the State Election Commissioner said that nearly 51 per cent voting was recorded in the final phase of District Development Council (DDC) elections held today across Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference here, the SEC said that polling was peaceful in the poll going 28 constituencies of DDC including 13 in Kashmir division and 15 in Jammu division that witnessed 50.98 per cent of polling.
The SEC informed that polling was held in 1,703 polling stations including 1,028 from Kashmir division and 675 from Jammu division.
SEC further informed that Jammu division recorded an average voter turnout of 72.71% with Poonch district recording the highest percentage of 83.58% followed by Reasi district with 81.92% and Rajouri with 77.31%.
The Kashmir Division recorded 29.91% average voter turnout with Kupwara district recording the highest polling at 63.80% followed by Bandipora with 56.56% and Baramulla district recorded 44.60% polling, he added.
Giving district wise details, the SEC informed that in Kashmir Division the polling percentage recorded in Budgam was 35.12%, Anantnag 8.66%, Kulgam 11.20%, Pulwama 8.50% and 8.58%polling was registered in Shopian.
Similarly, in Jammu division poll percentage of 73.65% was recorded in Samba, 73.93% in Kathua, 73.42% in Ramban, 73.45% per cent in Kishtwar, 60.49% in Udhampur, 70.33% in Doda and 69.39% in Jammu district.
The SEC said that the elections were held to 280 DDC constituencies for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir. It is very promising to note that a very good participation of people was observed and enthusiasm among the people could be found on its peak keeping in view the fact that these elections are going to have on the developmental scenario in the rural community.
Besides these, 1088 Panchayat Halwas and 12153 Panch constituencies went to elections.
He further said that 3,21,694 (1,69,271 male and 1,52,423 female votes) people exercised their right to franchise for the final phase across the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.
Also, the SEC informed that re-polling was ordered after contesting candidates from several political parties, other candidates and voters complained about unlawful activities during polling at some polling stations of Mendhar and Shopian DDC Constituencies. Besides, attempt to create ruckus at some polling stations.
Giving further details, the SEC informed that the re-polling has been done at four polling stations of Poshana (Bufliaz DDC constituency) today.
He said that the same would be done in two polling stations of 17-PS Hajama and 32-MS Gallian (Mendhar-A DDC constituency), two polling stations of 29-Sakhimaidan & 30-GMS Sakhimaidan (Mendhar-B DDC Constituency) besides at two polling stations of Balpora (DDC Constituency Shopian-II) on 21st December.
He further added that the poll timing would be 7 am to 2 pm whereas the counting shall be done on December 22, 2020 along with the rest of the DDC constituencies as per the schedule notified by the Election Authority.
The SEC further expressed thanks to Administration, Health department, Security forces, J&K Police, Political Parties, contesting candidates and Media for helping to conduct peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections.
He said that the Administration has played a pivotal role in making the elections a success as they have actually made it happen. In Kashmir the government officials have braved the chilling cold to ensure that democratic process comes out successful.
While appreciating the role of Health department, the SEC said that department has made foolproof arrangements for implementing the Covid guidelines in and outside the polling stations.
He said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir overwhelmingly participated in the election process thus reposing their faith in democracy and democratic process.
Further, he said that counting of votes for Sarpanch and Panch constituencies which went to poll in the eighth phase is being conducted.
Sharma said polling was held in a peaceful atmosphere and remained largely incident-free.
“There has not been any significant incident. However, at a few polling stations, attempts of intimidation and ballot papers being torn were reported. Re-polling was ordered after contesting candidates from several political parties, other candidates and voters complained about unlawful activities during polling at some polling stations of Mendhar and Shopian DDC constituencies, he said.
The SEC said a candidate came under a minor incident of stone pelting in Poonch.
The PSO of the candidate acted properly and opened fire in air to stop the crowd. This led the people to disperse and there was some injury. This was an unfortunate incident, he added.
He said people have participated with very keen enthusiasm in the polls.
The people of J-K want to participate in the development of the UT, he said.
I want to recognise the role of political parties and independents for participating in these polls. Also, I thank the government machinery including the police and CAPFs for their efforts, Sharma said.
On a question about the possibility of the assembly polls in the UT after the successful culmination of the DDC polls, Sharma said, “Assembly election is the mandate of the ECI (Election Commission of India). It is not right for me to comment. But, they (assembly polls) will happen sometime and the ECI will take steps for it.”
Earlier this morning, the voting began on a dull note at various polling stations due to early morning chill. However, it picked up the pace as the winter sun shone and long queues of voters were visible outside almost all polling stations across the Union Territory.

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