82.4 pc turnout in Jammu, 32.3 in Valley

People including women wait to cast their votes at Uri (Left) and Udhampur (right) on Tuesday. —Excelsior pics by Aabid Nabi & Pawan Gupta
People including women wait to cast their votes at Uri (Left) and Udhampur (right) on Tuesday. —Excelsior pics by Aabid Nabi & Pawan Gupta

Peaceful polling in all 15 districts

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Nov 27: There was no let up in huge turnout of voters in fourth phase of Panchayat election in Jammu region, where whopping 82.4 percent electorates exercised their right to franchise while the voting percentage was also reasonably good at 32.3 in Kashmir as voting was today held in 15 districts of Jammu and Kashmir divisions including eight in Jammu region and seven in Kashmir.
An estimated 71.3 percent voting was recorded across the State and it was completely peaceful with no major violent incident reported from any part of the State as polling was today held for 339 Panchayats involving 339 Sarpanch and 1794 Panch segments, official sources told the Excelsior.
As many as 99 Sarpanchs and 969 Panch, totaling 1068 candidates have been declared elected as unopposed for fourth phase of polling held today from 8 am to 2 pm, sources said, adding that immediately after the voting ended, the Election staff took up counting, which was completed for majority of seats by midnight tonight.

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Districts FINAL % age
Kupwara 56.1%
Bandipora 24.4%
Baramulla 62.4%
budgam 46.3%
pulwama 0.6%
kulgam 14.5%
anantnag 6.2%
kishtwar 82.3%
doda 84.6%
ramban 81.1%
udhampur 78.9%
kathua 80.7%
jammu 85.2%
Rajouri 81.8%
Poonch 82.5%
J&K 71.3%

While an overwhelming 82.4 per cent polling was recorded in eight districts of Jammu division including Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Udhampur, Kathua, Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch, 32.3 percent voting was registered in seven districts of Kashmir region including Kupwara, Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag, the last three being in South Kashmir, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Shaleen Kabra said.
Among districts, Kabra said, Jammu recorded the highest poll percentage with 85.2 and the lowest was recorded at Pulwama district of South Kashmir with 0.6.
In Kashmir division, the northern Baramulla district topped the voter turnout with 62.4 per cent followed by nearby Kupwara district at 56.1 per cent, Budgam (46.3%), Bandipora (24.4%), Kulgam (14.5%) and Anantnag (6.2%).
In Jammu division, sources said, Doda recorded the highest voter turnout with 84.6 per cent, followed by Poonch (82.5%), Kishtwar (82.3%), Rajouri (81.8%), Ramban (81.1%), Kathua (80.7%) and Udhampur (78.9%).
SP Rural Jammu Dushyant Sharma said polling was peaceful in all five blocks covering 51 Panchayats of Akhnoor tehsil in Jammu rural with no untoward incident reported from any polling station. Adequate para-military and police personnel had been deployed for voting and counting, he added.
Polling ended peacefully today for the fourth phase of Panchayat polls in Kashmir with no untoward incident being reported from anywhere.
In some areas there was brisk polling while in other places especially in Pulwama people mostly stayed away from the democratic process.
People were in queues at Chokar in Baramulla district of North Kashmir despite cold weather conditions for casting their votes. Mohammad Salim Mir was elected here as Sarpanch of the village at the end of the day long exercise. He polled 134 votes defeating Mohammad Ashraf Wani and Sukhdev Singh who polled 128 and 46 votes respectively.
Mir said that he contested polls to work for the betterment of the village. He said that the village has been neglected and wants that developmental works be started immediately so that the funds allocated for such works don’t lapse.
A large number of people also voted Baba Khaipora in Baramulla district. Majority of the people here were enthusiastic about voting but a sizable stayed away from polls.
Mehmooda who was elected a Sarpanch in Chattarpora village of Pulwama district of South Kashmir which is worst affected by militancy. Here only few votes were polled and this is the only village in the district where polling was held while in rest of the villages there was no contest.
Mehmooda said that despite Pulwama being hot bed of militancy she didn’t receive any militant threat for contesting the polls.
“We are fighting this election for the welfare of the people. We are here to ensure the safety of the people. We are not fighting this election for any party but for the people. None takes care of the people in rural areas. I want to work for the upliftment of poor sections of society”, she said.
In the first phase of the nine-phased Panchayat polls held on November 17, an estimated 74.1 per cent of the electorate used their voting rights across the State, including 64.5 per cent in Kashmir division and 79.4 per cent in Jammu division.
In the second phase on November 20, overall 71.1 per cent polling was registered across the State with an overwhelming 80.4 per cent polling in Jammu division and 52.2 per cent in Kashmir region.
In the third phase, the State witnessed 75.2 per cent voting, which included 55.7 per cent in Kashmir division and 83.0 per cent in Jammu region.
Voting for fifth phase will take place on November 29.
The polling for the fourth phase started at 8 am at 2,618 polling stations across the State, including 639 in Kashmir division and 1,979 in Jammu region amid tight security and concluded at 2 pm with an electorate of 4,72,160 for Sarpanch constituencies and 3,32,502 for Panch segments.
He said 777 polling stations had been categorized as hypersensitive — 571 in Kashmir division and 206 in Jammu region.
A total of 5,470 candidates were in the fray for 339 Sarpanch and 1,749 Panch seats, while 99 Sarpanchs and 969 Panchs have been elected unopposed in this phase.
Sources said senior Government officers had been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of today’s fourth phase of Panchayat elections. Also, Expenditure Observers kept a watch on the expenditure by the candidates. In addition, the Micro Observers had been placed in polling stations, particularly those considered hypersensitive. Besides, the Zonal and Sector Magistrates were also deployed.
Sources said Control Rooms had 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 had been made including deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).