'36 Sarpanchs, 768 Panchs elected unopposed'

State Election Commissioner, J&K, KK Sharma today said that 36 Sarpanchs and 768 Panchs have been elected unopposed, mostly in Kashmir Valley.

He said: “368 Panch constituencies will go for by-elections tomorrow in J&K in which a total of 852 candidates are in fray including 635 males and 217 females.”

None of the candidates in DDC has won unopposed, he said, when asked during a press conference here in Jammu.

Regarding Sarpanch by-polls being held in the first phase (November 28), he said: “279 candidates are contesting for 94 Sarpanch constituencies. Out of 279, there are 203 male and female 76.”

He said that 57 lakh voters will participate in Panchayat elections in eight phases whereas 7 lakh voters will participate in the first phase of elections and around 2001 polling stations have been established.

“We have made all arrangements even in remote areas of Doda, Kishtwar of Jammu region and Kupwara and Bandipora of Kashmir valley where we had a challenge to shift the election material, security, and polling staff to the polling stations,” he said.

Sharma said: “We sent polling staff in advance to the remote areas where we had apprehensions about such areas may get disconnected due to snowfall. Hence, we arranged a helicopter and took help of air force in areas like Doda, Kishtwar, Bandipora and Kupwara districts.”

He said: “We have no shortage of police, though we have some problems in Kishtwar and Gurez (Bandipora). However, with the improvement in weather, the required number of police force has been sent to the respective polling stations and all arrangements have been put in place for fair elections. Polling officers and presiding officers have also reached their polling stations.”

Regarding the SOPs related to COVID 19 pandemic, the SEC urged the people to follow the guideline issued by the Election Commission besides putting on their facemasks and maintaining the social distance during polling.

He also said that sanitizers, thermal scanners and facemasks shall also be provided to the voters, in case they forget to carry their own facemasks/ sanitizers.   

It is pertinent to mention that DDC elections and panchayat By-Polls 2020 are being held in 8 phases commencing from 28th November to 19th December. The counting of votes shall be conducted on 22nd of December.