UDHAMPUR: Braving the cold weather conditions, voters arrived at a polling station in Udhampur to exercise their voting rights during the fifth phase of District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Serpentine queues were seen at various polling booths in Jammu and Kashmir including Udhampur, Anantnag, Ganderbal, Kupwara and other districts.
The DDC elections are being held in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time after the Centre amended the Jammu and Kasmir Panchayat Raj Act, 1989, after the revocation of Article 370 last year.
Voter Chowdery Mohammad Iqbal said, “We are happy to participate and cast our votes today. We are thankful to the government of India for conducting the most important election for the Union Territory.”
In the Majalta DDC constituency, 33 polling stations have been established and 17,611 electors are eligible to cast their votes while in the Khoon DDC constituency, 34 polling stations have been established and 18,319 electors are eligible to cast their votes.
The DDC polls are being held amid tight security. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, arrangements have been made for the safety and security of the polling staff, candidates and voters. Sanitisers, masks and thermal scanners have been arranged at the polling booths.
In the first four phases, voter turnout had been impressive despite the pandemic and cold weather in Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, voters in large numbers including women and senior citizens were seen casting their votes in Anantnag.
“Voting process is taking place very smoothly here, the government has provided with all the required facilities at the polling booths. We are guiding all the voters who are arriving here to cast their votes,” said an official at the polling booth.
A total of 37 constituencies – 20 in Jammu and 17 in Kashmir divisions will witness polling between 7 am and 2 pm today. Besides, voting will also be held for 58 vacant sarpanch and 218 vacant panch seats.
Against 17 DDC constituencies of Kashmir division, 155 candidates are in the fray including 30 females whereas, in Jammu division, 144 candidates are in the fray for 20 DDC constituencies, including 40 females.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, adequate arrangements have been put in place to ensure the safety of all stakeholders including the voters, he had said.
The fourth phase of DDC elections held in 34 constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday saw over 50 per cent turnout.
Earlier, the first phase of DDC elections on November 28 saw 51.76 per cent voter turnout while the second phase polls witnessed 48.62 per cent on December 1 and the third phase of DDC elections on December 4 registered voter turnout of 50.53 per cent.
The DDC election is being held in eight phases and will continue till December 19. The counting of votes will take place on December 22. The elections are the first being held after the abrogation of Article 370 and the reorganisation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. (ANI)