Only 3 per cent electorates exercised their franchise during the second phase of Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections held on Wednesday in 49 wards of Kashmir valley amidst unprecedented security arrangements following strike called by separatists and apprehension of militant attempt to disrupt the process.
Meanwhile, brisk polling was recorded in Jammu, where 214 wards spread over six districts witnessed 76 per cent voting.
A police official said that the second phase of ULB polls, which started at 0600 hrs on Wednesday, was concluded peaceful at 1600 hrs.
However, out of 166 wards, where polling was supposed to be held in the valley in the second phase, electorate are exercising their franchise only in 49 wards as in the rest of the wards there is either one candidate in the fray or no candidate at all. As many as 61 candidates have won unopposed while in 56 wards no nomination was received in Kashmir valley in the second phase.
Surprisingly, the voters still don’t know the name of candidates, which was kept a top secret for security reasons. There was also no campaigning and majority candidates were staying under unprecedented security arrangements following killing of two National Conference (NC) workers at Karfali Mohalla in the old city last week. However, NC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) besides Communist Party of India (M) stayed away from elections leaving the field open for BJP and Congress.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shaleen Kabra this evening said that overall 30 per cent polling was witnessed in the Phase-II of Municipal Polls-2018 J&K.
Mr Kabra said Kashmir division witnessed average 3 per cent polling in 49 wards with Bandipora recording the highest 36 per cent voting.
He said in Jammu division, 76 per cent polling was witnessed in 214 wards that went to polls today.
In Jammu division, the highest polling percentage of 84.6 per cent was recorded in Reasi, the CEO said.
He said the cumulative polling percentage till date is 46.7 per cent with 67.3 per cent voting recorded in Jammu division and 8.34 per cent in Kashmir Division in Phase-I and Phase-II.
The CEO said that 544 polling stations were designated across the State for Phase-II with 270 polling stations in Kashmir Division and 274 in Jammu Division.
He said 1029 candidates are in the fray for 263 Municipal Wards for Phase-II with 881 candidates in Jammu division and 148 in Kashmir division for Phase-II.
In the first two phases, he said, 436285 voters have exercised their franchise out of a total of 933,000 voters who were eligible to vote for these two phases.
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq and Mohammad Yaseen Malik, have called for a strike in these areas only.
Hundreds of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPF) and state police personnel, wearing bullet proof jackets and holding automatic weapons have been deployed in the entire Srinagar city, particularly in the areas where polling will be held to prevent any violence.