Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], November 28 (ANI): Jammu and Kashmir recorded 22.12 per cent votes polled till 11 am across Jammu and Kashmir in the first phase of District Development Council (DDC) polls.
Large numbers of people have come out to cast their votes as long queues were seen despite severe cold conditions in Kashmir Division and hilly areas of Jammu Division.
As per the figures given by the office of State Election Commissioner, in Kashmir Division, Kupwara has recorded voting percentage of 13.492 per cent, Bandipora 17.874 per cent, Baramulla 12.196 per cent, Ganderbal 23.144 per cent, Srinagar 10.641 per cent, Budgam 28.472 per cent, Pulwama 3.514 per cent, Shopian 29.341 per cent, Kulgam 14.911 per cent and Anantnag 23.462 per cent till 11.00 am.
Similarly, in Jammu division, Kishtwar has recorded voting percentage of 14.436 per cent, Doda 25.181 per cent, Ramban 33.392 per cent, Reasi 30.346 per cent, Udhampur 22.432 per cent, Kathua 24.262 per cent, Samba 36.403 per cent, Jammu 29.166 per cent, Rajouri 33.178 per cent and Poonch 32.113 per cent till 11:00 AM.
Anurag Thakur, Union Minister and BJP in-charge for local body polls in Jammu and Kashmir said that people are coming out in large numbers to vote, sending a strong message in support of democracy.
"District Development Council elections are important to strengthen democracy. People are coming out in large numbers to vote, sending a strong message in support of democracy. They want peace and development," he said.
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi blamed Article 370 as the reason behind the DDC elections could not be held all these years.
"After 70 years, DDC elections are taking place in Jammu and Kashmir. Due to Article 370, DDC elections could not be held. People of Jammu and Kashmir are enthusiastic about the democratic system and are happily taking part in the elections," he said.
Polling is underway for the first phase of the DDCs in Jammu and Kashmir with precautionary measures for COVID-19 in place. Voting began across 43 constituencies - 25 in Kashmir and 18 in Jammu at 7 AM today and will end at 2 PM. As many as 296 candidates including 207 males and 89 females are in the fray.
Elections for the DDCs, which are being held in eight phases, will conclude on December 19 and the counting of votes will take place on December 22.
Officials at the polling stations are ensuring that coronavirus guidelines are followed. Voters were seen wearing masks and observing social distancing.
Parties including the National Conference, People's Democratic Party (PDP), Peoples Conference, and CPI(M), formed the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration and are fighting the maiden DDC elections together. National parties BJP and Congress are also in the fray. (ANI)