After the final withdrawal of nomination papers, 1,065 candidates will contest the October 24 Block Development Council (BDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir, state election officials said on Saturday.
"A total of 1,092 nominations, including 853 independents, were found eligible after the scrutiny and withdrawal, out of which 27 candidates were elected unopposed as chairpersons, leaving 1,065 in the fray," the officials said.
The highest number - 101 candidates - are trying their luck from north Kashmir's Kupwara district, followed by nearby Baramulla (90), Jammu (82), Rajouri (76), Doda (74), Kathua (72) Udhampur and Budgam (58 each), Kishtwar (44), Ramban (43) and Reasi (39), they said.
The officials said Leh and Kargil districts together accounted for 74 candidates - 38 from Kargil and 36 from Leh, while Shopian district in south Kashmir has the lowest number of only four candidates.
Another five candidates are from Srinagar district. The Congress, CPI(M), National Conference, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are not taking part in the elections which are being held on party basis.
The Congress has announced its decision to boycott the elections citing "indifferent attitude" of the administration and continued detention of its leaders in Jammu and Kashmir as the reason for staying away from the first elections after special status to Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped under Article 370 and the state was divided into two Union Territories.
There are 316 blocks in the state, out of these two are without elected panches or sarpanches. Four blocks have been reserved for women, but there are no women candidates. Thus, the elections would be held in 310 blocks on October 24.
All arrangements have been made by the authorities for the smooth conduct of elections, the officials said. They said there would be one polling station for one Block Development Council, and accordingly, 310 polling stations have been setup in the state, one in each block where elections are to be held.
There are 26,629 electors, of which 8,313 are women and 18,316 men for all 316 blocks across Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said, adding that the ballot boxes will be used during the polls as the election shall be held through secret ballot.