Banihal/Jammu, Oct 10: A BJP candidate died of heart attack Wednesday when he was about to cast his vote in the second phase of the municipal elections in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. Azad Singh Raju, 62, a former employee of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department, died at a local polling station before casting his vote, they said. He was rushed to a hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead.
Raju was among 24 candidates in the fray for the seven municipal bodies of Ramban district. The second phase of the polling is in progress at 263 municipal wards spread across Jammu and Kashmir, including 214 wards, in six districts of Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Reasi, Udhampur and Kathua in Jammu region. The polling started at 6 am and will end at 4 pm. During the first two hours of the polling, the officials said Kathua district is leading the voter turnout chart with 17.2 per cent of 54,622 electorates exercising their democratic right.
It is followed by Reasi district which recorded a voter turnout of 16.6 per cent (10204 voters) followed by Kishtwar (15.3 per cent of 8830 voters), Doda (12.6 per cent of 13396 voters), Ramban (12.4 per cent of 5533 voters) and Udhampur (10.3 per cent of 35519 voters) till 8 am, the officials said.
Authorities have made elaborate security arrangements to ensure peaceful polling which will seal the fate of 1,029 candidates. A total of 544 polling stations, including 274 in Jammu and 270 in Kashmir, have been set up and are being guarded by police and paramilitary forces.
"The polling in Jammu region is going on smoothly and there was no untoward poll-related violence reported from anywhere," the officials said. The first phase of the polling was held on October 8 after a gap of 13 years and registered a voter turnout of 56.6 per cent. The third phase of the polling is scheduled for October 13 followed by fourth and final phase on October 16. The counting of votes will be held on October 20.