Signifying lukewarm response to municipal polls in Kashmir, the candidates in nearly 46 percent wards of the region's urban bodies going to polls in the phase-1 have won uncontested, the official details revealed.
As many as 69 wards have gone uncontested out of the total 149 wards in 13 municipal bodies of Kashmir for which polls are scheduled on October 8.
According to the details shared by the chief electoral officer (CEO) with media at a news conference here today, 78 wards have gone uncontested in the first phase in the entire state. Of them 69 wards are in Kashmir Valley and nine are in Jammu province.
The maximum number of wards have remained uncontested in south Kashmir which was the epicentre of 2016 unrest triggered by the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant commander BurhanWani. Since then the region's four districts have witnessed increase in militancy and civilian protests, with the
Election Commission of India unable to hold by-election for the region's parliamentary segment.
In total, 30 wards have remained uncontested in the region's municipal bodies in the initial phase. Of them, five wards have gone uncontested in Kulgam municipal body, eight wards in Devsar, five in Achabal, eight in Kokernag and four in Qazigund.
Similarly, 15 wards have been won uncontested by candidates in the municipal councils/committees going to polls in the initial phase in north Kashmir. Of them, two wards have gone uncontested in Kupwara, six in Handwara, one in Bandipora and six in Baramulla.
In Central Kashmir's Budgam, Chadoora and Khansahab municipal bodies, 24 wards have gone uncontested. Of them, nine are in Budgam, eight in Chadoora and seven in Khansahab.
In the 2017 by-election for Srinagar LokSabha seat, the Budgam district had witnessed massive violence and recorded very low voter turnout. Interestingly, Srinagar is the only district where no ward has gone uncontested in the first phase, implying that polling would be held for all the three wards.
Apart from uncontested wards, there are some wards in urban local bodies where nobody has filed nomination papers.
Not a single candidate has filed nomination papers for municipal committee Frisal in south Kashmir's Kulgam district. This is the lone urban body in the state where nobody has joined the fray.
Similar is the response in Beerwah where only candidate has filed nomination papers. In Kulgam and Yaripora municipal bodies, six and four candidates have filed nomination papers respectively. These bodies respectively have 13 and six wards.
On the other hand, eight candidates are in contest for three wards of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation going to polls in phase-1, although 11 had filed nomination papers. In phase-2nd, 88 candidates have filed nomination papers for 20 wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
The response is also similar for Anantnag town's urban body where 66 candidates have filed nomination papers for 25 wards.