71.1% polling in second phase of J-K panchayat elections, high voter turnout in LoC areas

An overwhelming 80.4% polling witnessed in Jammu division and 52.2% in Kashmir division as voters defy terror threats and poll boycott call by separatists.

71.1% polling in second phase of J-K panchayat elections, high voter turnout in LoC areas

Representational image (Photo: AFP)

Undeterred by the threats issued by Pakistan-backed terrorist outfits and the election boycott call by separatists, people in the areas along the Line of Control (LoC) turned out in large numbers on Tuesday to cast their vote during the second phase of the 9-phase Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Overall, 71.1% polling was witnessed across the state on Tuesday.

According to Chief Electoral Officer J&K, Shaleen Kabra, an overwhelming 80.4% polling was witnessed in Jammu division and 52.2% in Kashmir division.


The hotbed of terrorism, Anantnag, registered the lowest polling of 1 per cent while 11.2 per cent votes were polled in Baramulla.

In a bid to create a scare among the electorate, Pakistani troops lobbed two mortars near the Army’s Brigade Headquarters in the Poonch sector at 7.30 am, just 30 minutes before the polling began.

However, their strategy did not work and people still turned out in strength and 27.5% votes were cast in the first two hours. Polling there touched 60% by 12 noon and reached 81.7 at the end of today’s poll.

Pakistani troops also indulged in sniper firing in Rajouri district’s Lam sector near the LoC but the polling percentage there touched 83.5.

The other districts along the LoC registered high polling and these include Kupwara (69.7%), Bandipura (66.3%) and Rajouri (83.5%). Braving the freezing minus 8.2 degrees Celsius temperature in Kargil and Leh, 66.5% and 66.3% voters respectively exercised their right to franchise.

Electorate in Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban of Jammu division, which the separatists claim to be among their strongholds, also defied their boycott call and high 77.8%, 81.7% and 72.3% polling was respectively registered in these areas.

Among other districts that went to polls today, Ganderbal in Kashmir registered 27.4%, Udhampur (83.9%) and Kathua (78.7%) polling.

Polling for the second phase of panchayat election was held at 2,179 polling stations across Jammu and Kashmir. 828 polling stations were established in Kashmir and 1,351 in Jammu division, state chief electoral officer Shaleen Kabra said.

He said 601 polling stations have been categorised as ‘hypersensitive’, including 490 in Kashmir division and 196 in Jammu division. As many as 4014 candidates were in the fray for 281 sarpanch and 1,286 panch slots in the second phase of the election. Ninety Sarpanches and 1,069 Panches have already been elected unopposed.

The first phase of the election was conducted on 17 November in which 74.1% votes were cast. The National Conference and PDP have kept away from the polls.