Massive turnout in Jammu and Kashmir local polls

People came out in large numbers in Uri (Baramulla), Lar (Ganderbal), Wavoora (Kupwara), Nagam (Badgam) and Pahloo (Kulgam) blocks of the Kashmir Valley to make their choice despite the cold and rainy weather.

According to an electoral official, Uri recorded 86.95 percent voting, followed by Wavoora (85), Lar (82.60), Nagam (72) and Pahloo (81.48).The overall voter turnout was 81.62 percent in these blocks, he said.The turn out was equally impressive in the other three blocks of Chenani (78 percent), Vijaypur (84) and RS Pura (83).

The polling started at 8 a.m. and ended at 2 p.m.Votes are being counted at the various polling stations.

The multi-phased panchayat elections, the first after a gap of ten years, are being held in Jammu and Kashmir on a non-party basis.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani had called for a boycott of the elections while other separatist leaders remained silent over the people's participation in the elections.
A woman candidate was killed in Pakharpora area of central Badgam district Friday, but the polling there was not affected, recording over 70 percent turnout.

The woman's murder was believed to be a message killing by the guerrillas to dissuade voters from participating in these elections, but Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had said the incident could be unconnected with her decision to contest.

Instead of the electronic voting machines (EVMs), paper ballots are being used for the elections.

Hundreds of local police, as also Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers, were deployed across the voting blocks.

No untoward incident occurred during the day, police here said.The first round of the 16-phase local elections was held April 13.

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