Elections for the District Development Council (DDC) began today at 7 am for the first time after the Abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. Up to 2,644 polling stations have been set up with 7,03,620 electors for the first phase of the eight phases elections of DDC.
About 1,475 candidates are contesting at the polls. Out of these, 172 from the Kashmir valley and 124 candidates from the Jammu region are contesting the first phase of the DDC polls in the Union Territory, officials told PTI. Among these are 207 men and 89 women.
“There are 20 districts in Jammu and Kashmir. District Development Council is being constituted in every district. In every district, 14 representatives will be elected. We have taken remote areas in the first and second phase” said KK Sharma, the State Election Commissioner.
The election is being seen to be contested as majorly between the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), the Bhartiya Janata Party and the Apni Party floated by former finance minister Altaf Bukhari.
The newly formed PAGD is a union of several mainstream political parties that include the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), fighting on the grounds for seeking restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
“There was a lukewarm response to the polling in the valley due to the chilly weather. However, the turnout is expected to increase as the temperature would increase later in the day.” Officials stated.
ANI reported that up to 22.12 percent of votes have been polled till 11 am across Jammu and Kashmir in the ongoing DDC elections and that the voting for the first phase will end at 2 pm as stated by the officials.
The eight-phase election is scheduled to go on till December 19 with counting to be held on December 22. Out of 280 DDC constituencies, 43 have gone into the first phase of voting. 899 candidates are contesting for the by-elections for the Panch seats and 280 for the sarpanch seats.
For smooth conduction of elections, 145 companies of armed forces have been deployed with all necessary COVID safety measures being followed said, KK Sharma.