People queue outside a polling booth in Rajouri to cast their votes
People queue outside a polling booth in Rajouri to cast their votes

J-K municipal polls: Rajouri records highest voter turnout till 11 am

ANI | Updated: Oct 08, 2018 14:20 IST

Rajouri (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Oct 8 (ANI): Rajouri witnessed highest voter turnout of 55 per cent in 59 wards till 11 am in the first phase of municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.
Poonch was in the second position with 47 per cent voter turnout till 11 am, while Jammu, Kargil and Leh recorded 34, 33 and 26 per cent respectively.
Anantnag witnessed just a 5 per cent turnout in four wards. Bandipora recorded an abysmal 2 per cent turnout in 16 wards followed by Budgam and Baramulla with 3 per cent voter turnout each.
While Budgam has one polling station and one ward going to polls today, Baramulla has 35 polling stations and 15 wards.
"Proper security arrangements were made yesterday. The polling is going on smoothly. Mock poll has been conducted at all 584 polling stations. There were defaults in EVMs at four places. Those EVMs were immediately replaced. Voter turnout has been good so far and we expect it will keep getting better as the day progresses. Polling will be conducted till 4 pm," Jammu District Election Officer Ramesh Kumar told ANI.
"There are 584 polling stations in total -- 504 for Jammu municipal corporation and other 79 are for municipal committees," he added.
Amid terror threats and boycott calls by separatist groups and the two main regional parties, the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polling for the first phase of municipal elections in 422 of the 1,145 wards began on Monday morning.
Unprecedented security arrangements were put in place by the state authorities and the Election Commission to ensure peaceful polls. Also, all candidates have been provided with either cluster security in hotels or individually in the Valley.
According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), a total of 1,283 candidates are contesting in the 422 municipal wards today. This time, a large number of independent candidates are also in the fray.
This municipal election is also witnessing two significant firsts. In a major development, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are being used for the first time in accordance with the rules that have been amended in 2016.
In another first, the ECI is providing voting facilities to Kashmiri migrants by means of postal ballots. Since the migrants continue to be enrolled in their respective assembly constituencies from which the municipal committees or panchayats would derive the rolls, facilities will be provided for them to vote.
The polling, which began at 7 am, will conclude at 4 pm today, and counting of votes will be done on October 20.
In the wake of the polls, mobile internet services have been suspended in South Kashmir, while mobile internet speed has been reduced to 2G in other parts of the Valley. (ANI)