SRINAGAR: Nearly 100 per cent polling was recorded in the maiden Block Development Council (BDC) election in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, with the Congress, NC and PDP boycotting the first electoral exercise after abrogation of the state’s special status.
“98.3 per cent polling was recorded in J-K”, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shalinder Kumar said.
The polls to elect chairpersons of BDCs were held in 310 blocks in the state and 1,092 candidates were in the fray, of whom 27 were elected unopposed.
Srinagar district recorded 100 per cent polling followed by Reasi (99.7 per cent) and Jammu (99.5 per cent) polling.
There were 26,629 electors — 8,313 women and 18,316 men — for the polls to elect chairpersons of BDCs, officials said.
While polls were held through a secret ballot, the fate of a total number of 1065 candidates for the post of block presidents was sealed in ballot boxes. There was no report on any untoward incident from anywhere during the polls.
Authorities said that all the necessary arrangements for smooth conduction of elections have been made.
Chief Electoral Officer Shailendar Kumar said that polling went smoothly, with a heavy percentage of electors casting their votes.
He said, “Polling process, with an overall percentage of 98.3%, was over by 1 pm and the results will be declared in the evening.”
In Kashmir division, Srinagar was the only block, where 100% polling was registered, while Shopian registered lowest polling percentage of 85.3%.
Kulgam registered 93.9%, Pulwama 86.2, Anantnag 90.5%, Ganderbal 95.1%, Bandipora 97.6%, Baramulla 97.1% and Kupwara 95.9%.
The first ever held BDC elections are unique and interesting as barring BJP all major political parties like National Conference (NC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Congress have boycotted BDC elections and have decided not to participate in the electoral process as a protest against the abrogation of Article 370 and detention of their leaders. This leaves only Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates in the fray, against the independents.
It is believed that BJP will have a cake walk in these elections, since there is no tough competition to face, when there is an atmosphere of political vacuum left behind by the election boycott from major political parties.
Pertinently 27 candidates have already been elected unopposed, while a total number of 1065 candidates are in the fray for the election to the post of chairperson of block development councils across the state. Meanwhile, no election was held in six blocks, where four blocks reserved for women had no women candidate, while other two blocks are without Panches or Sarpanches.
According to the data of Chief Electoral Office total number of 1092 nominations were found eligible, after the withdrawal process was complete, out of which 27 candidates were elected unopposed for the post the chairpersons.
Out of the final list of 1092 candidates found eligible, 239 are from various political parties, while 853 are independent.
The district wise detail of candidates from Kashmir division suggests that there are 101 candidates in Kupwara, 90 in Baramulla, 26 in Bandipora, 28 in Ganderbal, 5 in Srinagar, 58 in Budgam, 11 in Pulwama, 8 in Shopian, 18 in Kulgam and 55 in Anantnag.In Ladakh region, there are 36 candidates in fray and 38 in Kargil.
In Jammu division 82 candidates are in fray in Jammu, 74 candidates in Doda, 44 in Kishtiwar, 43 in Ramban, 39 in Reasi, 58 in Udhampur, 72 in Kathua, 36 Samba, 76 in Rajouri, and 61 in Poonch.
There is a total number of 361 blocks across the state, but the election to the post of chairpersons, concluded yesterday was held for 310 blocks only.
BJP leaders addressed a number of meeting under unprecedented security arrangements in the valley. Recently BJP National General Secretary and Kashmir Incharge Ram Madhav addressed a youth rally, first after scrapping special status of the state, at Tagore Hall here under heavy security.
Though the opposition alleged that BJP has paid money to candidates to contest as independents, the saffron party said Congress and other parties have put up proxy candidates in the election.