Srinagar: With the state of Jammu and Kashmir reeling under political muddle, the state is voting for the first phase of civic polls that has been boycotted by the two key parties in the Valley, National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party. Elections are being held in 422 of the state’s 1,100 municipal wards under heavy security. The list includes 149 seats in the Valley and 26 in the Ladakh, Jammu and Pirpanjal region.
It is for the first time electronic voting machines (EVMs) are being used in these local body polls. The fate of 1,283 candidates trying their luck from 247 wards in Jammu region, 149 in Kashmir Valley and 26 in Ladakh will be sealed in the EVMs.
The security arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the polls. At a high level meeting, Governor Satya Pal Malik reviewed the security situation. Nearly 40,000 additional security personnel have been deployed in 149 wards of Kashmir valley.
The polling undertaken in the Kashmir valley are conducted in three wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation besides covering Municipal Committees of Kupwara, Handwara, Bandipora, Budgam, Baramulla and Anantnag. Municipal Committees of Kargil and Leh are also going to polls.
As many as 2,990 candidates are in the fray for the four-phased election, which will end on October 16.
Voting began at 7 am and will end at 4 pm. The campaigning for the first phase of polling which is taking place under terrorist threat had stopped on Saturday. In the Valley there was no campaigning by any party and candidates are hiding in security accommodations because of fear.
The second phase of the elections will be held on October 10, the third phase on October 13 and the last phase on October 16. Counting of votes will take place on October 20.