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Jammu & Kashmir Urban Body Election 2018
October 8, 2018
Election started for the first round of the ULB polls in Jammu & Kashmir at the morning hours of 7 on Monday, even as the polling has been marred with the boycott from the two major parties in the Valley namely National Conference aka NC and People’s Democratic Party aka PDP along with the threats from terror outfits. Amid a strong security coverage, election began for four hundred and twenty two of the state’s 1100 municipal wards in the 1st of the 4 phases of the local polls today.
The debut stage of voting commenced across the districts of Kupwara, Leh, Baramulla, Jammu, Kargil, Anantnag, Budgam, Bandipore, Poonch, Rajouri and Srinagar. Simulataneously, internet mobile were on hold in South Kashmir in light of the pollings. Subsequently, mobile internet speed had been decreased to 2G in few areas of the Valley.
According to the polling authorities, seventy-fives votes had been cast in 3 wards of Srinagar in the initial 2 hours of election. Meanwhile, govt. officials reportedly ended media from coming in contact with poll booths in Handwara & Kupwara, stating that the reporters were a “threat to the voters”.
From the 422 municipal wards in the state, one hundred and forty-nine seats are in the Valley whereas twenty-six are in Ladakh, Jammu & Pirpanjal region. About 2,990 participants are in the race for the elections, the due date of which is October 16th 2018. Voting started at 7 am so as to end by 4 pm. However, almost two hundred and forty contestants have already been elected with no defense, the most are from the Kashmir Valley region.
As seventy five of its nominees have already been chosen unopposed, the Bharatiya Janata Party claimed that it has gained control over 7 municipal committees in Kashmir Valley. With Farooq Abdullah’s NC and Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP out of the run, the election is widely between the BJP, the Congress & independent candidates.
The 2 core parties confirmed to boycott the local body elections asking that the Centre should give its stand on the issue of Article 35A of the Constitution that lets the state legislature to describe “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir and allow exclusive rights to those residents.
Notably, this is the debut pollings in thirteen years when voters in the state would be able to choose their representatives for J & K’s local bodies. However, several voters were stated to be “clueless” on who their contestants were or where the closest polling booth was.
Campaigning for the initial round of election was ended on Saturday, with no candidates or political parties campaigning in the Valley amidst threat. Candidates in the Valley cover in security network as a safety guage while security authorites guarded roads & buildings.
Strigent security beefs were witnessed in Srinagar where voting is being organized in 3 wards for the city’s municipal corporation. Numerous motorbikes were captured by the JK police at different check posts in the city on Saturday as well as on Sunday with improper documents or in such cases where the bikers had overruled traffic rules.
The electorate for the initial phase of the polling on Monday is 586,064.
Mobile internet facility discarded in south Kashmir. Cellular internet services have been temporarily stalled in S. Kashmir in the context of the first phase of urban local bodies pollings. Mobile internet speed has been decreased to 2G in some parts of the Kashmir valley.
Voting starts in districts of Anantnag in 4 wards, Budgam of 1 ward, Bandipore’s 16 wards, Baramulla’s 15, Jammu of 153 wards, Kargil-13 wards, Kupwara-18 wards, Leh-13, Poonch’s 26 wards, Rajouri-59 & Srinagar-3 wards, in the very first of urban local bodies elections in J & K.