Srinagar: Amid tight security arrangements, polling began in 31 district development council (DDC) constituencies on Sunday morning in Jammu and Kashmir. Besides 31 constituencies of the DDC, voting is also taking place for 334 Panch and 77 Sarpanch seats.
The polling in the first five phases has remained largely peaceful except a couple of grenade attacks and an attack on Apni Party’s DDC candidate in South Kashmir, in which he received two bullet wounds. On Saturday night, two civilians were injured in a grenade attack in Sopore.
State election commissioner (SEC), K K Sharma said 14 of the 31 DDC constituencies going to polls in the sixth phase on Sunday were from the Kashmir division and 17 were from the Jammu division.
“Against the 14 DDC constituencies of Kashmir division, there are 124 candidates in fray including 47 females. In Jammu division, there are 121 candidates in fray for the 17 DDC constituencies including 53 females.
748,301 electors (390,432 male and 357,869 female voters) are going to elect their representatives in all 31 DDC constituencies,” Sharma said.
He further said that 2071 polling stations have been set up, including 1208 in Kashmir division and 863 in Jammu division.
“Of 127 Sarpanch vacancies notified in the 6th phase, 37 have been elected unopposed. There shall be a contest on 77 seats and 229 candidates including 65 females are in fray,” he said, adding that out of the total 1,548 Panch vacancies notified in this phase, 334 constituencies will go for elections.
These polls are crucial for the Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an amalgam of mostly regional political parties, the BJP and the newly formed Apni Party. The BJP has been running a high octane campaign with more than 10 top national leaders of the party participating.
This is also the first election for the Apni party, formed in March by former J&K minister Altaf Bukhari.