SRI NAGAR: Militancy hotbed Kashmir recorded only 11.8 per cent polling on Monday, while 70.25 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in Jammu and Ladakh regions in the first phase of the Urban Local Bodies (UBL) polls in the northern state. Barring stray incidents, the polling ended peacefully. The polling of 321 municipal wards, including 83 in Kashmir and Ladakh and 238 in Jammu region, was held in the first phase.
Authorities had made tight security arrangement to ensure security and hassle-free voting for which 1,204 candidates, including 207 from Kashmir, were in fray. As many as 820 polling stations were set up for the polls. In Kashmir, the people opted to stay away from the polling booths fearing unrest. Kashmiri separatists had called for a boycott of the polls.
“We have no idea of who is contesting in the polls. Is this an election or a secret drama?” asked an elderly man outside a polling booth set up at the Government Girls Primary School Watalpora in Srinagar Municipal Corporation’s Humhama ward, referring to authorities keeping details of candidates contesting the polls in the Kashmir Valley under wraps.
A majority of the polling booths in Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley were deserted.
Moderate voting was reported in Hamdania Colony, Bemina in Srinagar. In border district of Kupwara, moderate to brisk polling was recorded. In Bandipora district of north Kashmir, which used to witness good voter turnout in past, only 3.4 per cent polling was recorded, which was lowest in the Kashmir Valley.
But, brisk polling was reported in Jammu region. According to Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra, 7.3 per cent polling was reported in 4 wards in Anantnag, 17 per cent in one ward in Budgam, 5.1 per cent in 15 wards of Baramulla, 32.3 per cent in 18 wards of Kupwara, 6.2 per cent in 3 wards of Srinagar, 78.2 per cent in 13 wards of Kargil, 55.2 per cent in 13 wards of Leh, 63.8 per cent in 153 wards in Jammu, 73.1 per cent in 26 wards of Poonch and 81 per cent in 59 wards of Rajouri.
BJP candidate injured
A BJP candidate sustained minor injuries in stone pelting at Dachigam area of Bandipora. Two people, including a pregnant woman, were injured after being reportedly hit by pellets during clashes at Lankrishipora in Bandipora.