1164 candidates elected unopposed in Phase-V

Polling today in 16 distts, 4763 in fray

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Nov 28: As many as 1164 candidates including 118 Sarpanchs and 1046 Panchs have been elected as unopposed in Phase-V of Panchayat elections, the voting for which will be held in the State tomorrow involving 16 districts including nine in Kashmir and seven in Jammu region.
As four South Kashmir districts including Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian will be involved in tomorrow’s voting, security agencies remained on high alert and have deployed para-military and police personnel in good strength there to ensure smooth conduct of polls, like four previous phases, official sources told the Excelsior.
A total number of 4763 candidates will be trying their luck for tomorrow’s elections in 309 Panchayats including 309 Sarpanch and 1534 Panch constituencies across the State.
While polling for the elections will be held from 8 am to 2 pm, the counting will start immediately after the voting is over.
The Election Authority has set up 2512 polling stations in 309 Panchayats going to polls in fifth phase tomorrow. Of them, 769 polling stations fall in Kashmir division and 1743 in Jammu region.
The districts going to polls tomorrow are Kupwara, Bandipora, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Budgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag in Kashmir with last four being in the militancy-infested South Kashmir and Doda, Ramban, Udhampur, Reasi, Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region.
Polling has been completed in Ladakh region comprising two districts of Leh and Kargil and Kishtwar district of Jammu division.
In view of militancy and other kind of sensitivities involved in the districts, where polling will be held tomorrow, the Election Authority has declared 848 polling stations from out of a total of 2512 as hypersensitive including 755 in Kashmir division and 93 in Jammu region.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer, Shaleen Kabra, 4763 candidates are in the fray for 309 Sarpanch and 1534 Panch seats in Phase-V while 118 Sarpanchs and 1046 Panchs have been elected unopposed.
He said in the areas going to polls in Phase-V, 4,04,283 electorates will be voting for Sarpanch constituencies and 2,70,295 for Panch segments.
“Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station,” he said.
Kabra said in the Phase-I of Panchayat Polls held on November 17, 74.1% polling was recorded across J&K including 64.5% in Kashmir division and 79.4% in Jammu region while in the Phase-II conducted on November 20, overall 71.1% polling was witnessed across the State with an overwhelming 80.4% polling in Jammu region and 52.2% in Kashmir division.
Similarly, in Phase-III, the State witnessed a polling percentage of 75.2% which included 55.7% in Kashmir division and 83.0% in Jammu division while in Phase-IV, the State witnessed a polling percentage of 71.3%, including 82.4% in Jammu division and 32.3% in Kashmir region.
Kabra said results have been announced for all these by the respective Returning Officers.
He added that the orders have been passed in various complaint cases as well as directions of the Courts and, wherever necessary, Notifications reappointing the election schedules have been issued.
“All such orders/notifications are available at the website of CEO J&K,” he said.
Kabra said Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State for Phase-III.
He said senior Government officers have been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of Panchayat Elections. Also, Expenditure Observers are keeping a watch on the expenditure by the candidates. In addition, for the poll day, Micro Observers have been placed in polling stations, particularly those considered hypersensitive. Besides, the Zonal and Sector Magistrates too have been deployed.
The CEO said Control Rooms have been established in all the districts across the State to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct as also to disseminate information to the public. Security arrangements have been made including deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).
He said the Government has declared holiday on the day of voting in the Panchayat areas going to polls so as to enable the voters to cast their votes. He added that special casual leave shall also be granted to the employees who have to go to other areas to exercise their right to franchise. As per standing guidelines, the Central Government offices will not be closed but the employees who are electors of the poll going wards and desire to exercise their franchise will be offered reasonable facility to do so.
The Chief Electoral Officer has appealed the voters to come forward and exercise their right to franchise in order to choose their local self-Government to address their local needs.