Till about 8 am, 14 percent turnout was reported from the Ramban district and 12.92 per cent from the Kishtwar district. About 17.23 per cent voters turned up in Kathua, which was at the centre of a storm early this year for the rape, and murder of an 8-year-old girl. Doda district saw a turnout of 12.51 per cent by eight in the morning.
Mobile internet services have been suspended in the entire south Kashmir region as voting for 13 districts is underway. The mobile internet speed has also been reduced to 2G in rest of the Kashmir, ANI reported.
The officials said that security arrangements have been put in place for smooth conduct of the elections which will take place from 6 am to 4 pm. They said the voting would take place at 544 polling stations across the state and would end at 4 pm.
A total of 1,029 candidates — 881 in Jammu division and 148 in Kashmir division — are in the fray for 263 municipal wards, including 49 in Kashmir and 214 in Jammu. A total of 65 candidates – 61 of them from Kashmir valley – have already won the polls uncontested, while in 56 wards all in the valley – no nomination was received, so no polling is taking place in those places, they said.
As many as 270 polling stations have been designated for voting in Kashmir Division and 274 in Jammu Division, they added.
The officials said the total electorate in these wards is 346,980 — 128,104 in Jammu Division belonging to 18 Municipal bodies and 218,876 in Kashmir Division of five Municipal bodies. They said massive security arrangements have been put in place to ensure smooth conduct of the polls. The elections, covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh, are being held in four phases.
A total of 3,372 nominations have been filed for 1,145 wards. The next phases will take place on October 13 and 16.
The National Conference (NC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the CPI(M) have boycotted the polls to protest the the legal challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution in the Supreme Court. The government has declared holiday on the day of poll in the municipal areas concerned to enable voters cast their vote.
(With PTI inputs)