75.8% voting in seventh phase of J&K Panchayat polls

The officials said 892 polling stations have been categorised as "hypersensitive" in this phase, including 428 in Kashmir division and 464 in Jammu division. (PTI file photo)

The seventh phase of Panchayat polls ended peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday with 75.8% voters exercising their right to franchise across the State.

Poll officials said an overwhelming 84.5% voters exercised their franchise in Jammu division, while Kashmir division recorded 30.3% voting. The voting began at 8 am at 2,714 polling stations - 576 in Kashmir division and 2,138 in Jammu division, they said.

As many as 892 polling stations had been categorised as “hypersensitive” in this phase, including 428 in Kashmir division and 464 in Jammu division, officials said. In this phase, 5,575 candidates are in the fray for 341 sarpanch and 1,798 panch seats, while 85 sarpanch and 912 panch have been elected unopposed.

The nine-phase elections that began on November 17 are slated to end on December 11. The Panchayat polls are being conducted in the state after a gap of seven years. In the last Panchayat polls held in 2011, the voter turnout across the state stood at 82 %. 

Polls not held

The term of the panchayats had expired in 2016 and the previous PDP-led government failed to hold the polls despite repeated directives from the central government since 2017 to hold fresh elections.

While the National Conference and People’s Democratic Party have decided to stay away from the electoral exercise, separatist groups have asked people to boycott the polls in line with their three-decade-old anti-election policy and the militants have threatened to blind candidates with acid.

The major mainstream parties have decided against participating in the polls, citing New Delhi’s “ambiguous” stand on Article 35A, which has been challenged by right-wing groups in the Supreme Court.

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75.8% voting in seventh phase of J&K Panchayat polls

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