J&K Municipal Election 2018: Around 240 candidates have been elected unopposed
Jammu and Kashmir is voting on the first day of four-phase civic elections that have been boycotted by the two main parties in the Kashmir Valley, National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party. People are voting in 422 of the state's 1,100 municipal segments under heavy security, in the first urban local body polls in 13 years. The results will be announced on October 20. Elections are also being held in 149 seats in the Kashmir Valley and 26 in the Ladakh, Jammu and Pirpanjal region.
Mobile internet services have been suspended in south Kashmir for the voting. In other parts of the Kashmir Valley, the internet speed has been reduced, said officials. The turnout has been low till now; in one polling booth in Srinagar, 10 voters have showed up in four hours.
Here are the highlights on Jammu and Kashmir civic body elections:
First round of municipal polls end amid Jammu-Kashmir divide
With tight security provided by thousands of police and paramilitary personnel, the electoral process went off smoothly in the Valley, with just one incident of stone-pelting reported in a Srinagar ward.
The overall voting percentage in the state was 56.7 per cent.
There was no militant related violence anywhere in the state and the Governor Satya Pal Malik is determined to hold municipal and panchayat elections despite calls for a boycott by separatists and militant threats to candidates and officials.
Phase-1 Poll Percentage In The Valley
"It is a historic election in Kashmir for local bodies taking place after 13 years," the Kashmir governor Satyapal Malik told NDTV.
Mr Malik also declared that PM Modi has been the best Prime Minister for the valley, bettering even Atal Bihari Vajpayee's policies.
District Election Officer Ramesh Kumar said, "Total voter turnout was 63.83% till 4 pm today in the first phase voting for the local body elections in 11 districts."
Voter turnout in Jammu and Kashmir municipal polls witnessed a significant boost, with Kargil taking over the lead from Rajouri in terms of voter turnout in the afternoon today.
Polling in 83 wards of the valley began at 7 am and ended at 4 pm amidst tight security. "Only 7,057 voters of the 84,692 eligible persons turned up to vote in the wards which went to polls Monday. The polling was by and large peaceful," the official said.
Voter turnout in Kargil increased from 33 per cent to 73.6 per cent in a span of two hours.
While Rajouri recorded 67.7 per cent, Poonch was close with 63.5 per cent. Jammu and Leh recorded voting percentages of 43.4 and 44.2, respectively.
Bandipore recorded the lowest voter turnout of 2.5 per cent, while Anantnag, Budgam and Baramulla, which are heavily infested by militancy, registered voter turnouts of 6.1 per cent, 12 per cent and 3.7 per cent, respectively.
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 this morning across the state, PTI reported. Shops, business establishments, private offices and fuel stations remained closed here in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
They added that public transport was off the roads, while a few private cars, taxis and autorickshaws were seen plying in some areas of the city.
The polling is taking 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.
Stone throwing was reported from several areas of Bandipora during the first phase of polling in Jammu and Kashmir's urban body polls, according to news agency PTI.
BJP candidate injured during stone throwing in Bandipora
A BJP candidate, contesting the urban local body polls in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir, was Monday injured during stone throwing, officials said, according to a PTI report.
Adil Ahmad Buhru, BJP candidate for ward 15 of Bandipora Municipal Committee, was injured when stones were thrown at him at Dachigam while he was on way to cast his vote at a polling station, the officials said.
No restriction in any part of Kashmir valley: Police
Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said no restrictions have been imposed anywhere in the valley although security has been tightened to provide a free and fair environment.
A presiding officer has been suspended at the Aloosa polling station in Bandipora district for allowing a woman accompany a voter to the voting counter, reports IANS.
In the Ladakh region where biting cold had kept early voters away, saw the process pick up and Kargil district registered 3,470 votes while Leh had 3,164 votes till 11.30 a.m.
Srinagar registered the lowest count of 3.5 per cent in five hours since polling began at 7 a.m, reports IANS. In the three Srinagar municipal corporation wards of Humhama, Bagh-e-Mehtab and Hamdania colony, 1,001 votes were polled till 11.30 a.m.
There was poor turnout in the Kashmir Valley in the first phase of the civic polls that took place amid boycott calls by the two key parties in the state -- the National Conference and the People's Democratic Party. Till 12 p.m., it was just 18 per cent in Kupwara, 2 per cent in Bandipora, 3 per cenr in Badgam and Baramullah, while 5 per cent in Anantnag, reports news agency IANS.
Amid tight security, long queues of enthusiastic voters were seen in almost all the municipal corporation and municipal committee wards in Jammu district where 34 per cent polling was recorded in five hours, as Rajouri registered 55 per cent and Poonch 47 per cent.
The centre has made elaborate security arrangements, pushing in around 40,000 paramilitary personnel in addition to the massive security in Kashmir.
Campaigning stopped on Saturday but in Kashmir, there was no campaigning by any party and candidates hid in security accommodations fearing attacks.
In Anantnag, only 43 of the 1,639 votes have been cast so far, an official said, adding in Budgam only 12 voters turned up in the first two hours of polling, reports PTI.
After two hours of voting, the poll percentage in Bandipora was an abysmal one per cent while Baramulla recorded around 0.8 per cent turnout, an official said.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh cast vote in Jammu during the first phase of local body elections in the state.
Reports from Leh and Kargil towns of Ladakh region said biting cold kept voters away, though the process was expected to pick up as the day progressed and warmed up. Polling will end at 4 p.m, according to news agency IANS.
Polling is picking up in north Kashmir as more than 10 per cent of 4,700 voters cast their votes in the first two hours for Kupwara Municipal Committee, followed by 5.5 per cent in Handwara town, reports 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.
Less than two per cent of the electorate turned out to cast their votes on Monday in 83 wards of urban local bodies in Kashmir valley in the first two hours of polling for the first of the four-phased elections in the valley amidst stringent security arrangements, reports PTI.
For the first phase, 78 candidates have already been elected unopposed out of which 69 are from the valley, reports PTI.
People queue outside a polling booth in Gorakh Nagar to cast their votes in the first phase of urban local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Heavy security arrangements were seen in Srinagar where voting is being held in three wards for the city's municipal corporation, IANS reported. Scores of motorbikes were seized by the police at various check posts in the city on Saturday and on Sunday with incomplete documents or in cases where the bikers had violated traffic rules.
The electorate for the first phase of the elections on Monday is 586,064.
Mobile internet services suspended in south Kashmir
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, reports news agency ANI.
Voting begins 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 and Srinagar-3 wards, in the first of urban local bodies elections in Jammu and Kashmir, reports news agency ANI.
Of the total, 150 polling stations have been designated in Kashmir division and 670 in Jammu division. "In Kashmir division, 138 polling stations have been categorized as hypersensitive while in Jammu division 52 polling stations have been categorized as hypersensitive," an official was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.
The elections for the urban local bodies were last held in 2005. Latest visuals from Ward no. 48 in Jammu.
Voting begins for first phase of Jammu and Kashmir local body polls
Voting began at 7 am for the first phase of Jammu and Kashmir local body polls. A total of 820 polling stations have been set up in 321 municipal wards for the polls.