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J&K records over 57 per cent polling in 7th phase of DDC elections

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STATE TIMES NEWS

JAMMU: Amid extreme cold wave conditions, Jammu and Kashmir recorded 57.22 percent polling in the seventh phase of the district development council (DDC) elections held across the Union territory on Wednesday, officials said.

While Poonch district of Jammu region polled the highest number of votes at 80.12 percent across J&K, Bandipora district recording the highest polling at 70.47 percent in the Kashmir valley.
State Election Commissioner (SEC) K K Sharma said 57.22 per cent voting was recorded in the seventh phase in the ongoing DDC elections held Wednesday across Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference here, the SEC said polling was by and large peaceful in the 31 constituencies — 13 in Kashmir division and 18 in Jammu division — that witnessed 57.22 per cent polling.

Jammu Div repeats huge participation

JAMMU: Jammu division witnessed voting in 18 constituencies as Phase-VII polling for Eight Phase District Development Council elections and Panchayat by-polls was held on Wednesday in the Jammu and Kashmir Union territory.
Like in past phases, the polling was held peacefully in all constituencies amid huge participation of voters across the social spectrum. The voters voted to decide the fate of 150 candidates fighting for the 18 DDC seats of the Division.
As per reports pouring in from different areas, long queues of voters were seen at polling booths where women, elderly and First time voters were seen waiting for their turn. Enthusiastic voters of all age groups flocked the polling booths since the early morning. The scenes of voters dressed in colourful woolens and forming long queues presented a festive sight in the mountainous Chenab region, which witnessed sunny a day after a chilling spell. Similar scenes were witnessed in Kathua, Samba, Jammu and Pirpanchal region, where voters thronged polling booths amid sunny weather.
Sheetal Singh, 23 was the first voter at polling Booth-33 village Chohala in border block RS Pura. Braving the early morning foggy conditions, Sunita Khajuria 45, voted at Middle School Kalibari Kathua at 7.30. First time voter, Abhishek Sharma cast his vote at GMS Maroli Polling Station in Kathua block. Madhu Singh 29, was first voter at polling Booth UPS Batyari – Udhampur.
Septuagenarian Ghulam Hassan 78, along with his family voted at Polling booth GMS Draptey in RS Pura.
Long queues of woman voters were also seen across all the constituencies. In the Chenab region, women formed long queues as they waited for their turn. Similar scenes were seen in Kathua, Udhampur and Pirpanchal region.
A centenarian female voter Zaiba Begum( 104) cast her vote at Bagan polling booth in Ramban, while another centenarian female voter, Jai Devi cast her vote at Khatyal Sawani and Mathrua Dass 95, cast his vote at polling booth Digdole on Jammu Srinagar National Highway.

The SEC informed that polling was held in 1,852 polling stations including 1,068 in Kashmir division and 784 in Jammu division.
He further said Jammu division recorded an average voter turnout of 71.93 percent with Poonch district recording the highest polling percentage of 80.12 percent followed by Reasi district with 76.75 percent and 75.63 percent voting recorded in Udhampur district. The lowest turnout in Jammu division was in Doda district which recorded 58.82 percent voting.
The Kashmir division recorded 39.52 percent average voter turnout with Bandipora district recording the highest polling at 70.47 percent followed by Baramulla with 59.53 percent and Kupwara district with 59.23 percent polling, he added.

Border dwellers vote for better road connectivity to Samba hamlets

Samba: Braving thick fog and extreme morning chill, Geeta Kumari and her husband walked to the polling booth in Samba district on Wednesday to cast their votes in the hope that the elected candidate would meet their long-standing demand of road connectivity to their small village in Jammu and Kashmir’s border area.
Not just Kumari, most villagers in Sumb Dunai and nearby hamlets who have voted in the DDC polls expect the government, and lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha in particular, to ensure road connectivity in the border district of Samba at the earliest.
“Today I voted in the DDC elections. Whichever candidate is elected in these polls from our constituency, we have one hope that he will ensure best road connectivity to our hamlet,” Kumari said. She said she has never seen metalled roads since she started living in this hamlet after getting married 12 years ago. “Our major problem is (lack of) metalled road connectivity. The connectivity is very bad, through stones and nallahs. Since the time I was married in this village 12 years ago, there has been no work done by the government to build metalled road connectivity,” she said.
According to the villagers, money was allocated for the construction of the road during the BJP’s rule and some work to build roads started a few years ago, but it was later abandoned.
Usha Devi, another resident of the small village, said mini buses undertake journeys to ferry villagers through the muddy and stone-laid road through nallahs, which takes between one and a half and two hours to reach the nearby villages instead of just 45 minutes if there were better roads.
“The transporters refuse to send more vehicles to ferry passengers in view of the bad road conditions resulting in overloading which causes problems to us, particularly girls and boys going for studies in towns,” she said.
Rajinder Kumar of Patyari village said once better road connectivity is put in place it will be the biggest development to several unconnected villages in Sumb block.
The villagers said they feel development of the village can only take place once there is metalled road connectivity to their hamlets.
They said that despite the “much hyped” village development programmes, better road connectivity is still a dream for them.
The District Development Council (DDC) elections, the first major political activity in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 last year, are being held in eight phases from November 28 to December 22.

Giving district wise details, the SEC said that in Kashmir division the polling percentage recorded in Budgam was 45.11 percent, Ganderbal 53.69 percent, Anantnag 22.46, Kulgam 17.98 percent, Pulwama 11.06 percent and 6.55 percent polling was registered in Shopian. Similarly, in Jammu division poll percentage of 74.38 percent was recorded in Samba, 72.85 percent in Kathua, 67.75 percent in Ramban, 73.10 percent in Rajouri, 69.89 per cent in Kishtwar and 68.66 percent in Jammu district. He further said 3,93,200 people (2,10,479 male and 1,82,721 female voters) exercised their right to franchise for the seventh phase across Jammu and Kashmir.
Further, he said counting of votes for Sarpanch and Panch constituencies which went to the polls in the seventh phase was being conducted.

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