Only 4.2 per cent polling was recorded in 24 wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and 12 wards of Ganderbal Municipal Committee (GMC) on Tuesday in the final phase of four phased election amidst unprecedented security arrangements.
An official said that only 4 per cent polling was recorded in 24 wards of Srinagar while 11.3 per cent voter exercised their franchise in 12 wards of Ganderbal in the fourth and final phase of Urban Local Bodies (ULB) election held on Tuesday.
He said the overall percentage in the fourth phase was 4.2 per cent in Kashmir valley, where thousands of security forces and state police personnel, wearing bullet proof jackets and headgear, were deployed to provide safe and secure environment to voters to cast their votes.
He said the overall voting percentage in four phases of ULB polls in all the three region, Jammu, Ladakh region, which witnessed brisk voting, and Kashmir was 35.1 per cent. The election was by and large peacefuly though security forces in the afternoon burst teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge at Soura in the city outskirts disperse stone pelting demonstrators trying to disrupt polling.
Interestingly there was absolutely no campaigning by candidates who remained confined to secure zones after the killing of two workers of National Conference (NC) in broad day light in the old city at Karfali Mohalla Habba Kadal. The names of candidates were also kept secret for security reasons.
The NC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) besides Communist Party of India (M) stayed away from the polls on the issue of Article 35 A as the political parties wanted centre and state to clear their stand on the issue. Congress initially announced not to contest the polls but later took a U-turn and decided to field candidates. However, Governor Satya Pal Malik questioned NC and PDP boycott and said when both the parties took part in Kargil Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil the issue of Article 35 A was there. These parties are misleading people and trying to take political mileage in Assembly elections.
Out of 25 wards, polling was held in 24 in SMC in summer capital while in GMC 12 wards out of 17 saw voting today in which 150 candidates are in the fray — 38 in Ganderbal and 112 in Srinagar in the final phase. Five candidates from Ganderbal and one from Srinagar were elected unopposed.
Polling in the fourth and final phase will be held in SMC wards of New-Theed, Harwan, Nishat, Brane, Dalgate,Pantha chowk, Palapora, Tarabal, Kawadara, Hawal, Alamgari-Bazar Gilli-Kadal, Nowshara, Lal-Bazar, Botshah-Mohalla, Umer-Colony, Jogi-Lankar, Kathi-Darwaza, Lokut-Dal, Bud-Dal, Hazratbal, Tailbal, Habbak, Chatterhama, Zakura Soura, Buchpora and Ahmad-Nagar.
There was no polling in MC in Pattan in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, Pampore, Pulwama and Khrew in Pulwama district in south, Shopian Municipal Committee in Shopian district in south and Dooru Verinag in Anantnag district as candidates were declared elected unopposed or there was no candidate. These six bodies have 90 wards.
While candidates from 11 wards out of the total 13 in the Pattan municipal body have been elected unopposed, two wards received no nomination papers. Not a single nomination paper has been submitted in any of the 13 wards of the Khrew municipal body.
In the Pampore municipal body, which has 17 wards, five candidates were elected unopposed, while 12 wards received no nomination papers. Out of the 13 wards in Pulwama municipal committee, no candidate was in the fray in 11 wards while two candidates were elected unopposed. In the 17 wards of Shopian, 12 were elected without contest, while five wards received no nominations. One ward received no nomination in the municipal body of Dooru Verinag, 16 candidates were elected uncontested.
In total, out of the 132 wards across the eight bodies, 44 wards received no nominations, while 52 wards saw candidates getting elected without any contest.