J-K Panchayat polls: Poonch clocking highest voter turnout

Srinagar: Poonch district of Jammu region on Thursday recorded the highest voter turnout of 72 percent while Ramban was second in the list with 63.9 percent voter turnout till 12 pm in the fifth phase of Panchayat elections polling.

Despite terror threats and boycott call by the two major political outfits of the region — the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party –, voters came out in large numbers to exercise their franchise in the fifth phase.

The voter turnout recorded in other areas of the state are as follows: Rajouri 60.4 percent, Udampur 60.3 percent, Jammu 59.1 percent, Reasi 56.2 percent, Doda 55.9 percent.

However, the voting percentage was abysmally low in Budam (29.8 percent), Baramulla (26.1 percent), Ganderbal (13.2 percent), Anantnag (6.7 percent) and Pulwama (0.2) districts.

Interestingly, after a gap of four long years, these booths have been set up by the poll body. The last elections which took place in the state were held in 2014. The voting for the Assembly elections was held in five phases from 25 November – 20 December 2014.

According to the State Election Commission, after withdrawal and scrutiny, 4,763 candidates are in the fray for 309 Sarpanch and 1,534 Panch seats in the fifth phase, while 118 Sarpanches and 1,046 Panches have been elected unopposed.

For hassle-free voting, the poll body has set up as many as 2,512 polling stations across the region including 1,743 in Jammu division and 769 in Kashmir Valley. Moreover, 848 polling booths have been categorized as hypersensitive.

The Panchayat elections are being held in nine phases in the state. The sixth phase of Panchayat polling is scheduled to take place on December 1 and the counting of votes will take place on the same day.