J&K sees 51.7% polling in first phase of DDC polls

Jammu and Kashmir sees 51.7% polling in first phase of DDC elections

In the election, the Gupkar Alliance is in direct contest with the BJP in the erstwhile state which is under the Centre's rule

 A woman casts her vote for the first phase of the District Development Council (DDC) elections, at Gund in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir. Credit: PTI Photo

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, bone-chilling cold and militant threats, Jammu and Kashmir recorded 51.7% voting in the first phase of the District Development Council (DDC) elections on Saturday.

State Election Commissioner, K K Sharma said that in Jammu, 64.2% people voted while in Kashmir 40.65 voting was recorded. “Barring small incident of stone pelting in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, the election process for the first phase passed off peacefully,”(sic) he said while addressing a presser in Jammu.

The authorities had made elaborate security arrangements for the elections to ensure incident-free polls. “Vigil has been tightened across the Union Territory,” a senior police officer told DH. “Security is being reviewed as per requirements.”

Security along the LoC and the International Border, he said, has also been beefed up to prevent militants from infiltrating and disturbing the poll exercise.

In the first phase of the DDC elections, voting took place in 43 constituencies, including 25 in Kashmir and 18 in Jammu with 1,427 candidates in the fray and seven lakh voters eligible to exercise their franchise. The election will be held in eight phases starting from November 28 and concluding on December 19 while counting will take place on December 22.

In the election, People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration comprising National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Peoples Conference and other parties are locked in a direct contest with BJP. The elections are to be held using ballot papers.

The DDC polls mark the Centre’s first attempt at restoring democratic processes in the region, following the revocation of its special status and bifurcation in August 2019. In the absence of an elected government in the UT, these Councils are set to become a new unit of governance in Jammu and Kashmir.

J&K has been ruled by the Centre since June 2018 when the BJP pulled out of the alliance government with PDP. The special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 was revoked in August 2019 by the Parliament and it was bifurcated into the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.