Srinagar: As the third phase of Jammu and Kashmir urban local body elections began on Saturday, security arrangements have been tightened near the polling stations. The voter turnout recorded until 2 pm in Baramulla is 72.7 per cent, in Samba it is 73.9 per cent while in Anantnag it is 2.7 per cent and in Srinagar, the voter turnout is 1.5 per cent.
The polls began on October 8, followed by the second phase on October 10. The fourth and last phase is scheduled to be held on October 16. The counting of votes will be done on October 20.
The first phase of elections covering three districts of Jammu, Poonch and Rajouri recorded 65 per cent voter turnout while in the second phase covering six districts of Kathua, Udhampur, Ramban, Doda, Reasi and Kishtwar witnessed 78.6 per cent voting. The fourth phase will be held in six districts of Kashmir valley.
As many as 2,990 candidates are in the fray for the four-phased urban local bodies (ULB) polls in the state while there are 16,97,291 eligible voters in the 1,145 wards across the state.
CPI(M) and BSP are the other two parties which have also stayed away from the municipal polls, leaving the BJP and the Congress in a direct contest. However, the two parties cannot ignore the resurgent National Panthers Party (NPP) especially in Jammu region and independent candidates.
The last election to the municipal bodies in the state was held in 2005 through secret ballot and the term of five years expired in February 2010.