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Jammu and Kashmir municipal elections: 56.7% voter turnout recorded, 8.2% votes cast in Valley

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Srinagar, Oct 8: A voter turnout of 63.83% was reorded in the first of four-phase municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir that began at 7 am on Monday amid tight security.

Threats from militant groups kept a majority of people away from polling booths in Kashmir Valley where the turnout was a paltry 8.3 per cent, whereas in Jammu and Ladakh divisions over 65 per cent of the electorate voted in the first phase of urban local body polls on Monday, officials said.

Polling on Monday was by and large peaceful in the four-phase election to urban local bodies, which has been boycotted by two main regional parties -- the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In Kashmir Valley, Bandipore recorded the lowest turnout at 3.3 per cent and Kupwara the highest at 36.6 per cent. With no election rallies taking place before the first-phase polling in 58 wards in Kashmir Valley, the fear of militant groups was evident as many of the booths wore a deserted look and at certain places people tried to hide themselves from the assembled mediapersons. In the election to 238 wards in Jammu division, the turnout was recorded at 65 per cent. In Ladakh division's Leh and Kargil districts, 55.2 and 78.1 per cent of the electorate respectively cast their votes till 4 PM, when the voting ended.

As many as 2,990 candidates are in the fray for the four-phased urban local bodies (ULB) polls in the state, where nearly 500 over ground workers (OGWs) have been arrested to ensure peaceful polling scheduled to begin next week after a gap of eight years, officials said on Saturday.

Jammu and Kashmir municipal elections LIVE: Voting underway amid tight security

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9:06 PM, 8 Oct
In Jammu, which witnessed elections to 238 wards, saw 56.7 per cent of polling with 3,32,255 exercising their franchise. The second phase covering 384 wards is scheduled for October 10, the third covering 207 wards on October 13 and the last phase covering 132 wards on October 16.
9:06 PM, 8 Oct
In North Kashmir, Kupwara Municipal Committee recorded a high voter turnout of 36.6 per cent, while 27.8 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise at wards of Handwara Municipal Committee. Out of the 30,074 voters in three wards of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, 1,862 turned up at heavily-fortified polling stations. Budgam recorded a turnout of 17 per cent, Anantnag 7.3 per cent, Baramulla 5.7 per cent and Bandipora 3.3 per cent, the officials said.
9:05 PM, 8 Oct
In the election to 238 wards in Jammu division, the turnout was recorded at 65 per cent. In Ladakh division's Leh and Kargil districts, 55.2 and 78.1 per cent of the electorate respectively cast their votes till 4 PM, when the voting ended.
6:00 PM, 8 Oct
"Total voter turnout was 63.83% till 4 pm today in the first phase voting for the local body elections in 11 districts," says Ramesh Kumar, District Election Officer.
3:48 PM, 8 Oct
Normal life was hit in the Kashmir Valley Monday due to a strike called by the separatists against the holding of the local bodies' polls, the first phase of which began Monday morning across the state.
3:42 PM, 8 Oct
Voting continued peacefully in Gandhi Nagar, RS Pura, Bishnah, Arnia, Khour, Jurian, Akhnoor, Nowshera, Surankote and Kalakote areas and many other wards.
3:42 PM, 8 Oct
Two people were booked and later detained for fake voting in Ward Number 7 of Surankote municipality in Poonch.
3:42 PM, 8 Oct
According to the latest figures, there was a total voter turnout of 502 voters (2.96 percent of the electorate) in the Bandipora municipal committee. In Budgam, a total of 84 votes were polled.
3:42 PM, 8 Oct
According to the latest figures, Kupwara has seen a relatively higher voter turnout, with 33.65 percent of the electorate coming out to cast their vote in the civic body polls.
3:39 PM, 8 Oct
Only one vote registered in Janbazpora, polling station, till 1.30 pm out of registered 580 and 1097 votes.
3:38 PM, 8 Oct
BJP candidate Adil Ahmad Buhru from ward 15 of Bandipora district was injured after a group of miscreants pelted stones at him while he was on his way to cast his vote at Dachigam, officials told PTI.
3:38 PM, 8 Oct
"Nearly 1,600 voters have exercised their franchise till 9:00 am at the 150 pollings stations set up in 83 wards across Kashmir Valley where polling is going on today," an official was quoted as saying by PTI. Around 85,000 voters including 40,800 women are eligible to vote in the valley. Out of 30,074 voters in three wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, only 417 turned up at heavily-fortified polling stations.
3:38 PM, 8 Oct
Till 11:15 am, a voter turnout of 16.5 per cent was registered in Handwara municipality.
3:37 PM, 8 Oct
Polling is not being held in Chadoora (Budgam), Khansahib (Central Kashmir) and Kulgam, Devsar, Qazigund, Achabal in South Kashmir since there are either no candidates or not contests.
3:37 PM, 8 Oct
Meanwhile, Advocate Vijay Sharma, who was removed as BJP state secretary six months ago for spearheading an agitation seeking a CBI inquiry into the Kathua gangrape-murder case, is now the saffron party’s main face for Hiranagar Municipal Committee elections.
12:38 PM, 8 Oct
Congress alleged that BJP was using the official machinery to rig the elections in Kashmir. Party's state vice president G N Monga, said that the non-locals have been forced to cast their vote in the Anantnag district. He said that Congress workers have reported the use of force by BJP.
12:27 PM, 8 Oct
Voter turnout recorded till 11 am in the first phase of local body elections in 11 districts - Anantnag-5%, Budgam-3% Bandipora-2%, Baramulla-3%, Jammu-34%, Kargil-33%, Kupwara-18%, Leh-26%, Poonch-47%, Rajouri-55% & Srinagar-3.50%
11:14 AM, 8 Oct
Union Minister Jitendra Singh and former Deputy CM Kavinder Gupta cast their votes in Jammu during the first phase of local body elections.
11:12 AM, 8 Oct
Heavy security deployed at a polling booth in Baramulla as voting for local body elections is underway
9:24 AM, 8 Oct
This municipal election is witnessing two significant firsts. In a major development, in these municipal polls, first-time electronic voting machines are being used, in accordance with the rules that have been amended in 2016. In another first, Election commission is also providing voting by the migrants by means of postal ballots. Since the migrants continue to be enrolled in the respective assembly constituencies from which the municipal committees or panchayats would derive the rolls, therefore the facility will be provided for them to vote.
9:22 AM, 8 Oct
Amid terror threats and boycott calls by separatist groups and the two main regional parties, the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polling for the first phase of municipal elections in 422 of the 1,145 wards underway.
9:22 AM, 8 Oct
Amid terror threats and boycott calls by separatist groups and the two main regional parties, the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polling for the first phase of municipal elections in 422 of the 1,145 wards underway.
8:21 AM, 8 Oct
Campaigning for the first phase of polling was stopped on Saturday, with no candidates or political parties campaigning in the Valley amid fear.
8:16 AM, 8 Oct
On October 2, police took Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik into preventive custody. Hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani continues to be under house detention.
8:16 AM, 8 Oct
Meanwhile, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest ahead of the first phase of local body polls.
8:12 AM, 8 Oct
People queue outside a polling booth in Gorakh Nagar to cast their votes in the first phase of urban local body elections
8:12 AM, 8 Oct
Voting for urban local bodies underway at a polling booth in Gandhi Nagar's Ward no. 2, in Jammu district.
8:11 AM, 8 Oct
Mobile Internet services have been suspended in South Kashmir in the view of the first phase of urban local bodies elections. Mobile Internet speed has been reduced to 2G in other parts of the Kashmir valley.
8:11 AM, 8 Oct
Voting began in districts of Anantnag-4 wards, Budgam-1 ward, Bandipore-16 wards, Baramulla-15, Jammu-153, Kargil-13, Kupwara-18, Leh-13, Poonch-26, Rajouri-59 & Srinagar-3 wards, in the first of the four phases of urban local bodies elections:Visuals from Budgam's Ward no 5
8:11 AM, 8 Oct
Voting begins for 422 of the 1,145 wards in the first of the four phases of urban local bodies elections in Jammu And Kashmir.
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In the first phase, a total of 1,204 candidates are in the fray for the 321 wards. Today, polling will take place in three municipal corporation wards in Srinagar city, municipal committees of Achabal, Bandipora, Baramulla, Badgam, Chadoora, Devsar, Handwara, Khansahib, Kokernag, Kupwara, Kulgam and Qazigund in Kashmir, Leh and Kargil in the Ladakh region. In the Jammu region, polling will take place for municipal committees of Akhnoor, Arnia, Bishnah, Jurian, Kalakote, Khour, Nowshera, Poonch, RS Pura, Rajouri, Sunderbani, Surankote and Thanamandi. In addition, voting will also be held in wards of Jammu municipal corporation.

According to the election department, around 17 lakh electors are eligible to vote in the four-phases in 1,145 wards across the state. Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra informed that polling will be held for seven hours between 7 am and 2 pm in all the phases.

Meanwhile, security officials said that elaborate arrangements have been put in place to ensure peaceful conduct of the elections.

While the first phase of polls is being held on Monday, the second phase will be conducted on Wednesday, third phase on October 13 and last phase on October 16. The counting of votes will be done on October 20.

Notably, this is the first elections in 13 years when voters in the state would be able to elect their representatives for J&K's municipal bodies. However, many voters were said to be "clueless" about who their candidates were or where the nearest polling booth was, reports suggested.

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