STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Over 51.5 per cent of 7.48 lakh electorates exercised their franchise on Sunday in the sixth phase of the District Development Council 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 per cent voting and Kashmir Division registering 31.55 per cent, Sharma told reporters here.
He said Poonch district in Jammu recorded the highest voter turnout of 76.78 per cent, while Shopian district in south Kashmir the lowest at 4.60 per cent.
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.
Freezing weather fails to dampen Jammu voters
JAMMU: Continuing with the high voter turnout like past phases, Jammu division again witnessed massive participation of voters amid the Phase-VI polling for District Development Council elections and Panchayat by-polls held on Sunday across 17 DDC constituencies.
Amid freezing weather and braving hilly terrain and snow at many places, the voters turned up in large numbers to vote at their respective polling stations.
The enthusiasm was the same among all the age groups. Women, youth and elderly voters were seen waiting in long queues for their turn.
At several places, voters as old as over hundred year were seen casting their votes. The enthusiastic young and first time voters were also seen showing inked fingers.
Undeterred by freezing and dense fog, Mohammad Saidq, 26 was the first voter at Polling Booth Rakh Sarkar, Hiranagar, Kathua.
Byaso Devi, 85 and Mantho Devi, 80 cast their vote at GHS Gurha Mundian Polling Booth in Hiranagar, while Beeru Gujjar, a nonagenarian voted at GPC Trehara polling booth in Barnoti block and centenarian, Bhihar Lal cast his vote at Polling Booth Panchayat Ghar Nagrota in the same block.
The polling in Kathua was held for DDC constituencies, and vacant panch and sarpanch seats in Barnoti and Hiranagar Blocks.
Meanwhile, 5 candidates- 4 for vacant panch seats in Block Barnoti and 1 for vacant panch seat in Block Hiranagar- were declared elected unopposed by respective Returning Officers.
The Phase-6 polling in Doda district was held for DDC Constituencies Ghat and Chiralla at 91 polling stations amid all necessary security and logistic arrangements.
The polling started at sharp 7 am in the morning and long queues were witnessed at each polling booth.
In district Ramban, polling was held in Gandhri and Sangaldan DDC constituencies in a smooth and peaceful manner.
Despite severe cold, the enthusiastic voters started reaching all 68 polling booths since the early morning.
Visually impaired, Mohammad Iqbal Dar, cast his vote at Thetharka polling station of Sangaldan, while PwD voter Suraj Din 86 cast his vote at HS Bhatni. Besides, several first time and old aged voters cast their votes at different polling stations.
Braving foggy weather conditions, Kartaro Devi polled her vote at Polling Booth GPS Marhol Arnia block- Jammu District where polling was held for DDC Bishnah and Arnia.
Long queues of voters were witnessed at border block Balakote. The lone DDC Constituency which went to poll in Poonch district. It recorded over 52 percent polling by 12 noon reflecting the enthusiasm of voters.
District Udhampur witnessed Polling for Udhampur -1 and Jaganoo DDC constituencies and Reasi District polled for DDC constituencies Pouni and Pouni A, while Rajouri District witnessed polling for Doongi and Nowshera DDC constituencies and District Samba for Ramgarh and Rajpura DDC constituencies.
Poonch district was followed in the voter turnout by Rajouri at 74.03 per cent, Reasi 74.02 per cent, Udhampur 72.04 per cent, Ramban 71.34 per cent, Samba 70.01 per cent, Jammu 66.32 per cent, Doda 62.93 per cent and Kathua 60.95 per cent, 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 per cent, followed by Kupwara (51.08 per cent), Bandipora (47.66), Kulgam (37.74), Baramulla (34.56), Budgam (30.99), Anantnag (24.06), Pulwama (8.16) and Shopian (4.60), he said.
He further said that 3,85,606 (2,07,223 male and 1,78,383 female votes) people exercised their right to franchise for the sixth phase across the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.
Further, he said that counting of votes for Sarpanch and Panch constituencies which went to poll in the 6th phase is being conducted immediately after the close of poll and results shall be declared.
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 been 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 per cent polling, the subsequent phases on December 1, 4, 7 and 10 witnessed 48.62 per cent, 50.53 per cent, 50.08 per cent and 51.20 per cent 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.