8.3% turnout in Valley, Samba records 82% voting in phase-3 of Jammy and Kashmir civic polls

Although 207 wards in the state were scheduled to go to polls in the third phase, polling will be held only in 96 wards -- 56 in Samba district in Jammu division and 40 in the Valley.

8.3% turnout in Valley, Samba records 82% voting in phase-3 of Jammy and Kashmir civic polls
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The voting for the third phase of the urban local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir began on Saturday amid a thick security blanket around the polling stations. The security forces have been carrying out area domination exercises over the past couple of days for ensuring incident-free election, according to officials. Although 207 wards in the state were scheduled to go to polls in the third phase, polling will be held only in 96 wards -- 56 in Samba district in Jammu division and 40 in the Valley.

Though election authorities have made arrangements for the polls there is little hope of any change in the trend of low voter turnout in the Valley as most of the wards fall in the separatist hotbed of the downtown city and south Kashmir. 

The voter turnout, however, is expected to be high in 13 wards in the Uri area of north Kashmir's Baramulla district, which has traditionally been a high polling area. A similar trend might be seen in seven wards in the Mattan area of Anantnag district, which has a significant Kashmiri migrant population. While results for 49 wards in the Valley were declared uncontested at the completion of the nomination process on October 3, there were no nominations filed for 62 wards -- mostly falling in Pulwama and Anantnag district of south Kashmir.

The voter turnout in the first two phases of the civic polls in the Valley has been low. While 8.3 per cent of the electorate turned up to vote in the 83 wards in the first phase on October 8, the poll percentage fell to an abysmal 3.4 per cent in the second phase held on October 10. 

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Total voter turnout recorded in Baramulla-75.3%, Samba-81.4%, Anantnag-3.2% and Srinagar-1.8%, during the third phase of local body polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

The frontier town of Uri in Baramulla district recorded a 75.34 per cent turnout, bucking the trend in the Valley, which has witnessed low polling in the first two of the four-phase elections after boycott calls from parties like the NC, the PDP and the CPI (M). 

# A high turnout of 80 per cent was recorded in Jammu's Samba district.

Voter turnout recorded till 12 noon in Baramulla-59.6 per cent; Samba-59.1 per cent; Anantnag-2.5 per cent and Srinagar- 1.2 per cent, during the third phase of local body polls in Jammu and Kashmir. 

# Today's polling in Samba will complete the ULB elections in all the 10 districts of Jammu region which recorded a high-voter turnout in the first two phases. The first phase of elections covering three districts of Jammu, Poonch and Rajouri on October 8 recorded 65 per cent voter turnout while in the second phase on October 10 covering six districts of Kathua, Udhampur, Ramban, Doda, Reasi and Kishtwar witnessed 78.6 per cent voting. The fourth phase on October 16 will be held in six districts of Kashmir valley.

# Long queues of voters were witnessed outside almost all polling stations and a record voter turnout is expected at the end of the polling at 4 pm, officials said. "This is for the first time I am voting in any elections. It is my right to choose a representative who could work for the welfare of the people," a first time voter Monika said after casting her vote at government higher secondary school at Badani in Samba. Another first time voter, Sonika, said she dedicated her vote to strengthen the democracy in the country."
Vote is our right and we should not waste this opportunity," she said. 

# Heavy polling is going on in Uri municipal committee of Baramulla district where 908 of the 3,552 voters have already cast their votes. The poll percentage in the first three hours of polling was 25.6 per cent. There are 365 candidates in the fray for 96 wards of eight urban local bodies for the third phase comprising a total electorate of 1,93,990 electors.

The trend of low voter turnout continued in the ongoing civic polls in Kashmir continued Saturday as only 1.3 per cent of the 1.62 lakh electorate exercised their franchise in the first three hours of polling. The 20 wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, where voting is underway, have witnessed only 0.8 per cent of the 1.53 lakh voters turn up at the polling stations, officials said. In Anantnag district, only 100 of the 5,469 votes have been polled in the first three hours of polling, the officials said.

# A total of 365 candidates are in the fray for 96 wards of eight urban local bodies comprising 193,990 electors.

# Independent Candidate and former National Conference (NC) leader Junaid Azim Mattu who resigned from NC disagreeing over the decision to boycott local body polls, casts his vote in Srinagar's Barzulla. "High time some people get off the moral high horse, anybody who disagrees with the two regional parties is labelled a BJP puppet by them. The fact is both NC and PDP have been in alliance with BJP before. So it is hilarious," said Mattu.

# Incidentally, the National Conference, the PDP and the CPI(M) have boycotted the polls due to the legal challenge to Article 35-A of the Constitution in the Supreme Court.

# Voting is currently underway in Samba district. The polling which began at 6 am and conclude at 4 pm

# Although 207 wards in the state were scheduled to go to polls in the third phase, polling will be held only in 96 wards -- 56 in Samba district in Jammu division and 40 in Kashmir. Of the 40 wards going to polls in the Valley, 20 falls in Srinagar city's downtown area, where the voter turnout has been generally low since the eruption of militancy in the state in 1989. The wards in the downtown city going to polls are Khanqah-e-Mualla, Maharajgunj, Jamia Masjid, Makhdoom Sahib, Khwaja Bazaar, Aqilmir Khanyar, Rozabal, Daulatabad, Islamyarbal, Nawab Bazaar, Nawa Kadal, Safakadal, Rathpora, Edigah, Palpora and Tarabal. Ten other wards in the civil lines area of the city, where polling will be held on Saturday, are Lal Chowk, Rajbagh, Ikhrajpora, Mehjoor Nagar, Natipora, Chanapora, Budshah Nagar, Baghat Barzulla, Hyderpora and Rawalpora.

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