J&K civic polls 3rd phase: Another low turnout

J&K civic polls 3rd phase: Another low turnout

Amid unprecedented security arrangements, polling began on a dull note for the third phase of municipal elections in Kashmir on Saturday.
The polling began at 6 am and is slated to end at 4 pm. Security has been beefed up across the state to ensure peaceful conduct of the polls. Reports said a thick security cover has been provided at all polling stations. 
Like the first and the second phases of the polls, there is likely to be no change in the trend of low voter turnout in Kashmir valley as most of the wards going to the polls in the third phase are in old city areas of Srinagar and militancy-hit south Kashmir. During the first two phases of polling in Srinagar, the voter turnout was mere 6.2% and 2.1%, respectively.
In Srinagar, just 0.4% voting was recorded in the first two hours of the polling while Baramulla Anantnag witnessed 1.3% till 8 am. However, Baramulla district on north Kashmir witnessed brisk polling with 23% voters exercising their franchise till 9 am.

 J&K Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shaleen Kabra said voting will take place at 300 polling stations across the state with 365 candidates in the fray for 96 wards. He said 1,93,990 electors are eligible to cast vote in this phase.
Although 207 wards in Jammu & Kashmir were scheduled to go to the polls in the third phase, polling is being held in 96 wards - 56 in Samba district in Jammu division and 40 in Kashmir Valley.
While results for 49 wards in the Valley were declared uncontested when nominations were filed on October 3, no nominations were filed for 62 wards - mostly in Pulwama and Anantnag in south Kashmir.
The National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP and the CPI (M) have boycotted the elections over the Article 35-A matter. 

While the candidates in Jammu and Ladakh regions have campaigned extensively, the campaigning remained a low-key affair in the Valley amid threats from militants, boycott calls by separatists and NC and PDP’s decision to abstain from the polls.
The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen has issued a strong warning to those participating in the polls, asking them to get shrouds along with the election forms.

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