Chadoora: Jammu and Kashmir witnessed 51.51% voting in the sixth phase of District Development Council (DDC) polls held in the region here on Sunday. While Jammu recorded 68.56% voting, the Kashmir valley witnessed 31.55% voting today.
The winter capital of Jammu witnessed 66.32% polling. The lowest was reported in South Kashmir’s Shopian district at 4.60%.
In Kashmir valley, the highest polling was reported from Ganderbal which recorded 58.45% polling in the sixth phase. The areas of Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara reported 47.66, 34.56 and 51.08% polling respectively while the South Kashmir areas of Kulgam and Pulwama reported 37.74 and 8.16% polling respectively.
In central Kashmir’s Budgam, which reported 30.99% polling, several voters said they had come out to vote to oppose right-wing BJP. Many of these voters, especially in a polling booth near Wathura, expressed concern over new land laws announced by the authorities for the union territory. “There are many families living here who fear losing their homes due to new land laws. Our fate hangs in balance,” a local told NewsClick.
Another local from Kralpora, Abdul Rahman said he has come to vote despite losing hope in the leadership or electoral processes. “I am only voting because it’s a religious obligation, but I have not seen any relief ever in my life. In our locality, there is no development, no electricity and no roads,” the 74-year-old said.
The first major electoral process in the region since the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories last year has been held in eight phases since November 28. The final phase will be held across the region on December 19 and the results will be declared on December 22.
Even as the voting concluded without any major incident of violence in Kashmir Valley, a gunfight broke-out along the Mughal road that connects Kashmir and Pin Panjal valleys. Two militants are believed to have been killed so far while one of their associates has been arrested, according to official sources, near Poshana area of Poonch. The district, however, recorded the highest polling percentage at 76.78%.
In Jammu division, 17 seats spread over nine districts went to the polls today in the sixth phase of District Development Council (DDC) polls including two shelling prone regions of Balakote in Poonch and Nowshera in Rajouri and Arnia in Jammu district.
In Rajouri, Nowshera and Doongi seats – which fall in Nowshera Assembly constituency and were previously held by BJP President Ravinder Raina, witnessed stiff competition by a joint candidate by Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD). For Nowshera seat, BJP’s Mohinder Singh was seen in a close contest with PAGD common candidate Manohar Singh and in Doongi, BJP’s Advocate Asif Choudhary is facing Khalid Hussain Chaudhary.
As per the sources, even after being a BJP stronghold, there are fair chances of PAGD winning the seat as people are more inclined towards voting for the candidate than the party. In Balakote of Poonch, Muslim-dominated region, which polled today, voters appeared disenchanted.
According to Sajad Khaki, a social activist from Poonch, people are disillusioned because of the August 5 decision last year. “There is no excitement among people. Although, they are aware that some elections are happening but are really not interested to know further.” Sajad says that there is no particular party wave in Poonch and locals are choosing independent candidates.
“Locals want their basic issues of road, water, electricity and essentially bunkers to protect from shelling to be addressed. They are not attracted by the parties and believe that a local independent candidate who knows their area and is without party biases would work for them.”
In Sohag Pur village of Arnia in Jammu district, heavy voting was witnessed with voters queued up in government school while the doors of a community bunker were kept open in case of shelling.
Another seat of Bishnah from Jammu district, Rajpura and Ramgarh-C from Samba district, Barnoti and Hiranagar from Kathua district, Jaganoo and Udhampur-I from Udhampur district, Pouni and Pouni-A Reasi district, Sangaldan and Gandhi from Ramban and Doda Ghat and Chiralla in Doda district witnessed voting today.
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