Early Voting Today To Shore Up Poll Percentage   

SRINAGAR — In an apparent bid to increase voter participation in the Valley, the authorities have said the voting process in the second phase of the four-phase municipal polls in Jammu and Kashmir will start at 6 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. 

Polling in the second phase is scheduled on Wednesday, including in Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Budgam districts.

Wednesday’s polling will cover 384 wards in 13 districts: seven in the troubled Kashmir Valley and six in Jammu division.

The districts which will see polling are Kathua, Kishtwar, Reasi, Ramban, Udhampur, Doda, Srinagar, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Kulgam, Anantnag and Badgam.

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), J&K, Shaleen Kabra on Tuesday evening said that in the 2nd Phase of Municipal Polls-2018 voting will take place at 544 polling stations across the State tomorrow on 10 October 2018. The polling time, he said will be from 6.00 a.m. to 4.00 pm.

He said 270 polling stations have been designated for voting in Kashmir Division and 274 in Jammu Division.

The CEO said 1029 candidates are in the fray for 263 Municipal Wards including 49 in Kashmir and 214 in Jammu, going to polls in Phase-II. He said 881 candidates are in the fray in Jammu division and 148 in Kashmir division for Phase-II.

 “In the areas going to polls tomorrow, the total electorate is 346980, with 128104 in Jammu Division belonging to 18 Municipal bodies and 218876 in Kashmir Division of 5 Municipal bodies,”he said and added that Additional poll staff is also being deployed at the polling stations with larger number of electors.

The CEO said that Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State for voting. He said Photo Voter Slips have already been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station.

Kabra said senior government officers have been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of polls. “Expenditure Observers are also keeping a watch on the expenditure by the candidates,” he said and added that for the poll day Micro Observers have been deployed in polling stations, particularly those considered sensitive/ hypersensitive.

 “Besides, the Zonal and Sector Magistrates have been deployed to ensure smooth conduct of polls as well as monitoring the entire process,” CEO said and added that the Deputy Commissioners are undertaking Videography of all critical events related to the poll process.

Kabra said Control Rooms have been established in all the Municipal Bodies across the State to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) as also to disseminate information to the public. He said adequate security arrangements have been made for smooth conduct of polling across the State.

He said the government has also declared holiday on the day of poll in the municipal areas going to polls so as to enable the voters to cast their vote. He said as per standing guidelines, the Central Government offices shall not be closed but the employees who are electors of the poll going wards and desire to exercise their franchise shall be offered reasonable facility- by way of coming late to office / allowed to leave office early / short absence.

The CEO urged voters to exercise their right to franchise in order to choose their local self-government to address to their local needs.

Pertinently, Municipal Elections-2018 are being held in four phases, covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh. A total of 3372 nominations have been filed for 1145 wards. Days of poll are 8th, 10th, 13th and 16th October for these four phases.

No Election At 7 Places 

 At least seven places, there will be no elections either because either the wards were left vacant in absence of a nomination or there was just a candidate seeking an election and was declared the winner unopposed.

The Kunzar municipality in Baramulla has seven wards. But it will not have any voting. All its seven wards have one candidate each and there is no contest, and also voting not required.

Another municipality that is close to Kunzar is Magam, which is part of Budgam district. It also has 13 wards of which six are vacant because no nomination came. In the balance seven wards, there is one candidate each and they have already been declared winners without a contest.

The revered Chrare-e-Sharief town in Budgam has 13 wards for its municipality. There was no nomination for two wards and in the remaining 11 wards there, is one candidate each. They have already won and some of them have shifted out for celebrations!

Beerwah also falls in Budgam. This assembly segment is being represented by Omar Abdullah in the state assembly. Its municipality has 13 wards. For 12 wards, no nomination has come and shall remain vacant. For one ward, however, one nomination has come who has already won uncontested. So this town will also not require any voting.

The Yaripora town is part of Kulga district. It has six wards. For two wards no nomination papers were filed by anybody. For the remaining four wards, four nominations were received by the officials. Those who came with applications are presumed to have won the battle without actually fighting it.

A few kilometres away from this town is another major town called Frisal. It is a bigger one, in comparison to Yaripora. The municipality of this town has 13 wards. Officials said they have not received even a single nomination for any of the ward. So, no election is required.

The major town that the new highway is bypassing now is Bijbehara. It is the hometown of Muftis’, the founders of PDP. The town has 17 wards in its Municipality. There are as many as 12 wards which did not have any nomination at all. In the remaining five wards, five individuals have actually submitted their nomination forms but in absence of an opposition, they are presumed winners. The electoral process will bypass it the same way the highway is doing. Abdul Rehman Veeri is currently representing the assembly segment.

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