Voting for second phase of Jammu and Kashmir urban local body polls underway, mobile internet services suspended

The second phase will cover a total of 384 wards spanning 13 districts across the state, seven of which are in the Valley, and over 1,000 candidates will participate, said the officials

Voting for second phase of Jammu and Kashmir urban local body polls underway, mobile internet services suspended
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The polling for the second phase of urban local bodies elections in Jammu and Kashmir began on Wednesday amid unprecedented security arrangements put in place for the smooth conduct. The polling which began at 6 am will continue till 4 pm. The second phase will cover a total of 384 wards spanning 13 districts across the state, seven of which are in the Valley, and over 1,000 candidates will participate, said the officials

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. They said no polling will take place at 56 rpt 56 wards in the Valley as no nomination was received.

No nomination was submitted in all 13 wards of Frisal municipal committee of south Kashmir's Kulgam district, while only one nomination was received for 13 wards of Beerwah municipal committee in central Kashmir's Budgam district, officials said. 

Frisal, a part of Kulgam Assembly constituency, is represented by lone CPI(M) legislator M Y Tarigami, while Beerwah is represented in the state Assembly by the former chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah. 

A police official said security arrangements have been put in place for the smooth conduct of the polls in all the areas were people would vote, including in the 20 wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC). 

The first phase of polling will be followed by the second phase covering 384 wards on October 10, third phase covering 207 wards on October 13 and the last phase covering 132 wards on October 16. The counting of votes will be done on October 20.

Here are the latest updates:

* An estimated 57 per cent of over 1.28 lakh electorate cast their votes in the first six hours of polling, officials said. The voting covering six districts of Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Reasi, Udhampur and Kathua recorded a turnout of 57 per cent till 12 am. "Brisk polling is going on and there was no report of any untoward incidents reported from anywhere," the officials said. Ramban district is leading the voter turnout chart with 62.9 per cent, out of 5533 electorate, exercising their franchise followed by Reasi (60.8 per cent of 10204 voters), Kathua (59.4 per cent of 54,622 voters), Doda (57.8 per cent of 13396 voters), Kishtwar (55.9 per cent of 8830 voters) and Udhampur (59.4 per cent of 35,519 voters).

* Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed the situation in the state, where the elections to the urban local bodies are underway, officials said. During the meeting, the governor apprised Singh about the law and order in the state, particularly in militancy-wracked Kashmir Valley. The governor also briefed the home minister on the ongoing urban local bodies polls in Jammu and Kashmir, an official privy to the meeting said. The state is currently under the governor's rule and Malik is the administrative head of the state.

Former terrorist Farooq Ahmad Khan, who is contesting local body election on a BJP ticket, casts his vote at a polling station in Srinagar.

*  Our security arrangements are robust. Voting process is going on very well. Voters are feeling safe. People are coming out in large numbers to cast their vote: SSP Bandipora Zulfikar Azad

In the voter turnout recorded till 10 am, Kathua district remains the highest with 39.4 per cent and Srinagar the lowest with 0.8 per cent.

* BJP Candidate Azad Singh Raju dies of heart attack on the way to the polling station in Ramdam district. The incident is of ward no 2 where the voting has been suspended.

* The voter turnout till 8 am of eleven districts were declared. The percentage of voting till 8 am was highest in Kathua district with 17.2 per cent and the lowest was recorded in Srinagar with 0.2 per cent.

* People in Udhampur queue up to cast their vote outside a polling booth  to cast their votes.

* Mobile internet services have been suspended in the entire south Kashmir as voting continues. The mobile internet services have been reduced to 2G in rest of Kashmir.

Voting underway in Katra, Reasi district.

* An 84-year-old woman arrives at a polling station in Reasi to cast her vote.

* Jammu and Kashmir polling for second phase begins at 6 am. Police officials tighten security in Udhampur as voting for 384 wards underway.

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