Polling to the second phase of Jammu and Kashmir local body polls is underway. On Wednesday, 49 wards of three municipal committees, a municipal council and part of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation will vote. Following low turnout in the first phase of municipal polls which was held on October 8, the state election office Tuesday decided to change the poll timings again to 6 am to 4 pm. The initial timings were 7 am to 2 pm. This was changed from 7 am to 4 pm.
Over 1,000 candidates will participate in the second phase, and security arrangements have been put in place for smooth conduct of the voting process, according to the officials.
In the first phase of local body polls on Monday, the turnout in Jammu region was nearly 70 per cent but in the Valley it was just 8.2 per cent. The four-phase elections began on October 8 and will end on October 16.
J&K urban local body polls LIVE Updates: In the first phase of local body polls in J&K, held after 13 years amid calls for a boycott from militants, a stark contrast in voting patterns was presented. It saw voting in 17 cities and towns in the border districts of Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch, and eight districts of the Kashmir division, including Leh and Kargil and three wards of Srinagar. Apart from threats by militants, the two major local political parties, National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stayed away from the polls, leaving the BJP, the Congress, Sajad Lone’s Peoples’ Conference and Independents in the fray.
The second phase will cover a total of 384 wards spanning 13 districts across the state – seven of which are in the Valley, officials said. They said 1,198 nominations were received for these wards and after scrutiny and withdrawal, 1,095 contestants are in the fray for the polls. Out of 1,095 candidates, 65 have won the polls uncontested, including 61 from Kashmir Valley.