8 ULBs, 4 districts go to polls today in third phase

Staff being deputed at a polling station in Kothibagh Higher Secondary School in Srinagar on Friday, ahead of third phase of ULB polls in Kashmir. (UNI)
Staff being deputed at a polling station in Kothibagh Higher Secondary School in Srinagar on Friday, ahead of third phase of ULB polls in Kashmir. (UNI)

365 candidates to try luck in 96 Wards

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Oct 12: Four districts and eight Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) will go to polls in third and penultimate phase of Municipal elections in the State tomorrow amidst tight security arrangements in which 365 candidates are trying their luck for 96 Wards. Forty-nine candidates in the third phase have already been elected unopposed.
Three hundred polling stations have been set up for tomorrow’s polling.
Para-military forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police in large numbers have been deployed in all polling stations of 8 Urban Local Bodies including 4 each in Kashmir and Jammu regions. Samba district in Jammu with four Municipalities is the only district, which will go to polls tomorrow while three other districts fall in Kashmir valley.
With tomorrow’s election in Samba, polling process will be completed in entire Jammu region. Voting in Ladakh region was complete in first phase itself. Voting in fourth and final phase will be held in Kashmir only on October 16 followed by counting of entire State on October 20.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Samba district has four Municipal Committees including Samba, Ramgarh, Vijaypur and Bari Brahamna. Samba MC has 17 Wards while rest of the three Committees were based on 13 Wards each. There will be contest in all Wards of Samba district, where no candidate has been elected unopposed.
Ward Nos. 6-15 and 38-53 in Srinagar Municipal Corporation would go to elections tomorrow in the third phase amidst unprecedented security arrangements with massive deployment of para-military forces and police.
In Kashmir polling will be held in Mattan, Anantnag (Ward No. 23 only), Uri and Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
CEO Shaleen Kabra said that to ensure free and fair elections, Observers have been deployed, including micro-observers at 222 hypersensitive polling stations in the Kashmir Division and 19 in Jammu Division.
The CEO said that Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State for voting. He said Photo Voter Slips have already been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station.
Kabra said senior government officers have been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of polls. “Expenditure Observers are also keeping a watch on the expenditure by the candidates,” he said and added that for the poll day Micro Observers have been deployed in polling stations, particularly those considered sensitive/ hypersensitive.
Ahead of the third phase of Municipal elections tomorrow including 26 Wards of Srinagar mostly in sensitive old city, security has been tightened to prevent militants and anti-social elements from disrupting the poll process.
Police and CRPF has been deployed in the sensitive areas of Srinagar and vehicle checking, frisking of pedestrians and area domination has been intensified to avert any untoward incident or possible attacks by the militants.
A Police officer said that adequate arrangements for the security of the candidates and and Polling Stations has been made. Area domination, checking and operations have been going on to ensure general sense of security.
Director General of Police, Dilbagh Singh, today reviewed the security situation ahead of the third phase of the municipal elections and directed the police to ensure the security of both the contestants and voters.
The security in the wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation of Lal Chowk, Rajbagh, Ikhraj Pora, Mehjoor Nagar, Natipora, Chanpora, Budshah Nagar, Baghat-e-Barzulla, Rawalpora, Hyderpora, Khankahi Moulla, Mahraj Gunj, Makhdoom Sahib, Jamia Masjid, Khawaja Bazar, Aqilmir Khanyar, Rozabal, Daulatabad, Islamyarbal, Nawab Bazar, Nawa Kadal, Safa Kadal, Rathpora, Eidgah, Palpora and Tarbal has been intensified for smooth conduct of polls.
The polls are also being held in North Kashmir’s Uri while in Sopore the candidates have been elected uncontested. There is no contest in Tral, Awanipora, Pahalgam, while few wards of Mattan one ward of Anantnag town are going to polls tomorrow.
District Election Officer, Samba, Sushma Chauhan today finalized the preparedness for the Urban Local Body polls for 4 Municipal Committees scheduled on Saturday.
Under the supervision of DEO, sealed Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and other election material for 57 polling stations of 56 wards were handed over to the polling officers and polling parties.
The DEO also reviewed the security arrangements and other essential facilities at polling stations and transportation arrangements put in place by the administration for the smooth conduct of the elections. She further assigned the election duties to the polling parties.
Meanwhile, stage is set for the nine-phased Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir from November 17, in which over 58.12 lakh voters will choose 35,096 Panchayat members in 316 blocks of the State, sources said.
According to the State Election Department, Jammu district has the highest 6,21,566 voters, who will choose 2,568 Panchayat members in 322 Halqa Panchayats and 20 blocks, followed by Baramulla with 5,19,814 electorate who will choose 3,330 rural bodies members.
While Srinagar district has the lowest 32,337 electorates who would choose 170 Panchayat members, Leh has 69,735 voters and Kargil 77,038 electorates, who would elect 687 and 750 Panchayat members respectively.
The notification for the first phase of the Panchayat polls would be issued on October 23, sources said, adding the notification for the ninth phase of the polls, to be held on December 11, would be issued on November 14.
The poll process will be completed on December 17.
The Panchayat polls were last held in Jammu and Kashmir in 2011 after a gap of seven years.