93% Panchayat members vote in LC polls

Polling Incident-Free: CEO; Counting, Results On Dec 6

MUDDASIR ALI/ARVIND SHARMA

Srinagar/Jammu, Dec 3: Amid tight security, Panchayat members came out in brisk numbers across Jammu and Kashmir on Monday to vote for the four Legislative Council (LC) seats under rural local bodies’ quota.
Around 93 percent polling was recorded in the state with Jammu province recording around 95 percent voting and Kashmir division 91 percent.
“Ninety one percent of Panchs and Sarpanchs in Kashmir division including Ladakh exercised their voting right to elect two members to Upper House,” a communication from Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Asgar Hussain Samoon who was the returning officer for these elections, said.
A senior official said in Valley the summer capital Srinagar recorded the highest - 100 percent voting while as Pulwama recorded the lowest 86.75 percent voting. However, the lowest polling percentage across the state was witnessed in Kargil. The desert district recorded 65.37% polling.
This is for the first time after 1980 that government would be filling up the four LC seats under the Panchayat quota. The remaining two LC seats under the quota are reserved for Jammu division.
The polling will decide the fate of 37 candidates in fray for four MLC seats. The counting of votes would be held on December 6 and the results would be declared the same day.
At least 77 polling stations were set up in Kashmir out of which 42 were declared as sensitive, 11 hypersensitive and 24 normal.
The government had put up strict security measures to ensure smooth polling and each polling booth was manned by 12 force personnel including eight CRPF and four policemen.
Panchayat elections were held in J&K in April 20110 and the Electoral College for today’s LC polls consisted 33,540 Panchs and Sarpanchs - 13678 Panchs and 1950 Sarpanchs in Jammu and 15767 Panchs and 2145 Sarpanchs in Kashmir region.
The Hurriyat Conference (G) headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani had asked Panchayat members in Kashmir to boycott polls.
There were apprehensions that some Panchayat members might boycott the polls particularly after killing of at least five Panchs and Sarpanchs by unknown gunmen, and threats from “militant organization” asking the elected representatives to resign. The government had blamed the militants for the killings.
“The polling was peaceful and there was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere,” Samoon said.

SOUTH KASHMIR
In Islamabad district out of 2218 electorate, 2125 and 2128 Panchs and Sarpanchs respectively exercised their ballot for K1 and K2 seats. The overall polling percentage was around 96 percent.
A lady Panch from Pahalgam, Mubeena Akhtar said, “Till now government’s promises to empower us have proven a hoax. Now this vote is our last hope”.
The Panchs and Sarpanchs further appealed the separatists and mainstream parties not to construe their vote in favor of Indian constitution.
In Kulgam district the overall polling percentage was 85.26 in 10 polling booths.
However, according to sources, the official figures in Kulgam were exaggerated as the local MLA and CPI(M) state secretary M Y Tarigami had ensured poll boycott in the area.
In Pulwama a voter turnout of 87 per cent was recorded in five blocks. “We had a total of 3396 votes, out of which 2946 representatives cast their vote,” said an official.
In two blocks of the Shopian district more than 92 per cent of the Panchayat representatives exercised their rights.

BARAMULLA:
North Kashmir’s Baramulla district registered 88.3 percent polling.
“Around 88.3 percent polling was recorded in the district and the process remained incident free,” said Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Khawaja Ghulam Muhammad.
The highest polling was recorded in Uri and Boniyar Blocks- 99 percent and 98 percent respectively.
The total number of Panchayat representatives who cast their vote in Uri, Boniyar and Baramulla include 268, 259 and 321 out of 272, 272 and 358 voters respectively.
In Pattan, Singhpora and Wagoora blocks, which were declared sensitive, the polling percentage was recorded 80, 90 and 77 percents respectively.
In Wagoora 232 Panchayat members out of 303 cast their vote. The polled votes recorded in Pattan were 247 out of 306 votes, in Singhpora 234 votes out of 219 votes were polled and in Kunzar and Tangmarg the number of votes cast by the representatives were 274 and 231 out of 290 and 247 respectively.

SOPORE:
More than 90 percent of polling was recorded in four blocks of Sopore, SDM Muhammad Hanief Bulkhi said.
In Sopore block 146 votes were polled out of 183 votes, the number of Panchayat representatives who exercised their ballot in Zainageer, Rohama and Rafiabad blocks was 270, 205 and 163 votes out of 348, 218 and 182 votes each.
“The polling remained peaceful,” Bulkhi said.

KUPWARA:
Brisk voting was witnessed in the north Kashmir's Kupwara district.
“Overall percentage of polling was 93.07 percent,” said an official.
In snowbound areas of Keran, Jummagund and Budhnumbal which are close to LoC the voting was hundred percent.
Out of 3052 Panchs and Sarpanchs 2866 of them cast their vote for K1 seat and for K2 seat 2857 votes were polled.

BUDGAM:
More than 93 percent of elected representatives cast their vote in eight Panchayat blocks of this central Kashmir district.
“The polling percentage was 93.19,” said Assistant Returning Officer, Muhammad Akbar Ganai.

BANDIPORA:
Police barred media from entering the polling booths to cover the elections.
In violation of the rules, media persons were barred from entering the polling booth at main town Bandipora where political workers from various parties were protesting against "inadequate arrangements" for elections.

JAMMU DIVISION:
In Ramban district around 94.12 per cent voters exercised their franchise for the two seats.
Out of total 953 Panchs and Sarpanchs 897 cast their vote in 4 blocks of Ramban.
Kishtwar district recorded a voter turnout of 95.98 percent.
In Poonch district the voter turnout was 98 percent. Around 96% voter turnout was recorded in district Rajouri.

PDP STAGES PROTEST AT RS PURA
Activists of Peoples Democratic Party staged protest demonstration outside a polling station in RS Pura belt of Jammu alleging that the government has failed to make proper arrangements for the polls.

NPP ACCUSES GOVT OF SABOTAGING POLL PROCESS:
National Panthers Party chief Prof Bhim Singh accused the ruling alliance of using various means to “sabotage the poll process” at various places across the state.
In a letter shot to NN Vohra, Governor, Singh claimed a minister had organized a lunger for the Panchs and the Sarpanchs (voters) at Billawar at the polling site and the minister was found distributing cash to some favorites.
The NPP urged the governor to hold inquiry into the “naked flagration of Election Rules and Code of Conduct by the ministers and the officials of J&K government”.
Meanwhile, chief spokesman of Peoples Democratic Party Naeem Akthar said that district administration in Bandipora made attempts to tamper with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to favour the ruling coalition.

POLLING INCIDENT FREE: CEO
Elections to four seats of Legislative Council (LC) reserved for Panchayat representatives today concluded with above 90% polling. There are 33,540 Panchayat representatives in the state.
Addressing a press conference here this evening, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Umang Narulla said above 90% polling was reported in today’s voting for the four seats of LC.
He said the entire polling process remained incident free in all the 149 booths. He said polling material in respect of some snow bound areas like Kishtwar, Gurez, Machil, Zanskar etc was airlifted.
Narula said counting for the two seats of Kashmir would be held at SKICC, Srinagar while as for the two seats of Jammu would be held at Polytechnic College, Jammu and at respective district headquarters of Leh and Kargil on December 6.
The CEO said the Election Commission has appointed two observers and some micro-observers to monitor the election process. He said 5-8 complaints of violation of model code of conduct were received by the Commission which are being examined.
Some complaints by political parties have been lodged with Election Commission of India directly, some with observers and with Chief Electoral Officer also.
“It is a welcome step and good for the democracy. It is a people’s decision and let them draw conclusions also,” Narula said. (With inputs from Altaf Baba, Khalid Gul, Shahid Rafiq, Salil Raina, Sumit Bhargav, MM Parvez)

District-Wise Poll Percentage
SRINAGAR  100.00%


BUDGAM   91.56%


PULWAMA   86.75%


ANANTNAG   95.87%


BARAMULLA  88.28%


KUPWARA  90.25%


KULGAM  92.84%


SHOPIAN  92.68%


BANDIPORA  97.80%


GANDERBAL  97.80%


LEH  93.28%
KARGIL  65.37%


JAMMU  98.00%


SAMBA  98.05%


POONCH  98.00%


RAJOURI  96.00%


RAMBAN  94.12%


KISHTWAR  95.98%


DODA  92.17%


REASI  95.00%


KATHUA  93.00%


UDHAMPUR  93.00%

Lastupdate on : Mon, 3 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 3 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 4 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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