Visuals from Noorkhan Bijhama, Baramulla
Visuals from Noorkhan Bijhama, Baramulla

J-K panchayat polls: Ballots prevail over terror attacks in Pulwama

ANI | Updated: Nov 27, 2018 10:45 IST

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Nov 27 (ANI): Despite repeated attempts by terrorists to mar democratic processes, polling for Panchayat elections has begun in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Polling began in the district at 8 am today, despite an ongoing encounter in Tral, which is merely 25 kilometers from the polling area.
The Election Commission has set up nine polling booths in the region, where locals started to trickle after voting commenced.
The region witnessed the last elections in the year 2014, when representatives of the State Assembly were elected.
The terror-infested district, which is spread across 1,398 kilometres, falls under the Anantnag parliamentary constituency. By-elections in Anantnag were scheduled to be held in 2017 but had to be stalled eventually due to rising cases of terrorism in the region.
Voting is also being held in Baramulla, another region that is a hotbed of terror activities. Voters were seen queuing up in large numbers outside a polling station in Noorkhan Bijhama to exercise their franchise.
As per the Election Commission of India, after withdrawal and scrutiny, more than 5400 candidates are in the fray for 339 Sarpanch and 1749 Panch seats. Ninety-nine Sarpanchs and 969 Panchs have been elected unopposed in the fourth phase of voting.
This is the first time in the fourth phase that as many as 17 districts out of 22 have gone for elections in a single phase. The previous three phases were confined to only 14 to 15 districts.
Security has been heightened across the state so that the elections can be conducted in a peaceful manner. Majority of the candidates have been provided with security.
In the areas going to polls in phase four, a total of 4.72 lakh people are eligible to exercise their franchise for Sarpanch constituencies, while over 3.32 lakh will be voting for Panch constituencies.
The overall turnout for the third phase of Panchayat body elections which concluded peacefully on November 24 was 75 per cent.
The election schedule was announced last month, however, two major political parties which had dominated the region-- the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-- boycotted the polls while accusing the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government of not taking a firm stand over Article 35(A) of the Constitution, which gives the state of Jammu and Kashmir special privileges. (ANI)