As many as 321 candidates are in the fray for the second phase of the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir for which the voting is going on at over 2,100 polling booths.
In the second phase of the polls also, 43 constituencies are going to polls in the union territory – 25 in Kashmir and 18 in Jammu, the SEC said.
Officials said 321 candidates are in the fray for the 43 DDC seats. Out of those, 196 are in the Kashmir valley and 125 in the Jammu region, he said.
The SEC said simultaneously with the DDC polls, the sarpanch elections would be conducted in 83 constituencies and total 223 candidates are contesting in the phase two.
Similarly, he said panches’ bypolls would be held in 331 constituencies and a total of 709 candidates were in the fray.
He also said 58 sarpanchs (29 men and 29 women) and 804 panches (548 men and 256 women) have been elected unopposed.
There are about 7.9 lakh voters eligible for voting for the second phase at 2,142 polling booths – 1,305 in Kashmir and 837 in Jammu, the SEC said. “Almost all booths in Kashmir are sensitive from the security point of view,” he added.
He said all security arrangements have been put in place and the areas have been secured, while the polling parties and election material has already reached the polling booths.
“We are looking forward to good polling numbers,” he said, and appealed voters to come to the booths wearing face masks.
Asked about the complaints that candidates were not being provided security or confined to secure accommodations, Sharma said while personal life of candidates was important, for an election to be successful, the candidates have to go out to the constituency and campaign.
“I reviewed this again today. Have we received any complaints? Not many. I have received one or two complaints and I have referred those to IGP Kashmir. However, the big leaders of political parties have not made any complaints about a specific candidate or a group of candidates that they have not been permitted to campaign,” he said.
However, he said, candidates are told to inform police before going somewhere so that the visit is secured. “Otherwise, wherever law and order is not suitable, candidates could come under risk. But, human safety, personal life of candidates are important and at the same time, there is of custom in democracy where the candidate goes to the constituency, campaigns there, then only can the election be called successful,” he said.
17 employees suspended for code violation
Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has “temporarily” suspended 17 government employees, including seven teachers and three policemen, in Kishtwar district for allegedly violating the model code of conduct ahead of the second phase of the District Development Council elections, officials said on Monday. The attached employees include seven teachers, a forester, a policeman and two Special Police Officers, the officials said.
Will cover 43 constituencies
The second phase of DDC elections, along with the panchayat bypolls, will start across J&K at 7 am on Tuesday
It will cover 43 constituencies to seal the fate of 321 candidates — 125 in 18 seats of Jammu division and 196 in 25 seats of Kashmir division.
7.9 lakh voters
2,142 total booths
1,305 in Kashmir
837 in Jammu