J&K municipal polls: Jammu registers 78.6 per cent voter turnout, Kashmir 3.4

PTI Srinagar Oct 10, 2018, 10.33 PM(IST)

People queue outside a polling booth in Gorakh Nagar area of Jammu to cast their votes in the first phase of urban local body elections. Photograph:( ANI )

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Nineteen wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, having an electorate of 1.78 lakh, witnessed a turnout of just 2.3 per cent, officials said.

A total of 78.6 per cent of over 1.28 lakh voters exercised their franchise in Jammu while there was a low voter turnout yet again in Kashmir with 3.4 per cent of 2.20 lakh electorate casting their votes Wednesday in the second phase of municipal polls in the state, according to poll officials.

The second phase witnessed overall voter turnout of 31.3 per cent out of total electorate of 3.47 lakh in the state, they said.

The election commission officials said the overall turnout in two phases was 47.2 per cent in the state with the Jammu region registering 67.7 per cent and Kashmir 8.3 per cent. 

The low voter turnout in Kashmir was in line with a meagre 8.3 per cent turnout in the valley during the first phase of polling, when the Jammu and Ladakh divisions had witnessed over 65 per cent of voting, they said.

Nineteen wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, having an electorate of 1.78 lakh, witnessed a turnout of just 2.3 per cent, officials said.

Bandipora district, however, witnessed brisk polling as 34.2 per cent of the 8,300 voters exercised their franchise, the officials said.

They said Sopore in north Kashmir and Anantnag in south Kashmir registered turnouts of 6.1 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively.

Voters in Jammu region, however, voted enthusiastically in the second phase too, braving chilly weather conditions in the hills of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Udhampur and Reasi districts, whose upper reaches experienced the season's first snowfall overnight.

The voting covering six districts of Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Reasi, Udhampur and Kathua recorded an average turnout of 76 per cent, the poll officials said.

They said the highest turnout of 84.6 per cent was recorded in Reasi district followed by Kathua (80 per cent), Ramban (79.53), Udhampur (79.21 per cent), Kishtwar (74.75 per cent) and Doda (72.77 per cent). 

The enthusiastic voters thronged the polling booths soon after the polling began at 6 am and waited in long queues for their turn as the polling completed in a peaceful manner amid tight security arrangements.

The day-long polling in the Jammu region, however, was marred by the death of BJP candidate Azad Singh Raju (62) at a polling station.

Raju, a former employee of the Irrigation and Flood Control department died of heart attack at a polling booth in Ramban district shortly after the voting began, the officials said. 

The 2nd phase of polling has sealed the fate of 881 candidates, while four candidates have been elected unopposed in this phase in Jammu region.