Voting for 8th phase of Panchayat polls begins in Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar: Voting for the eighth phase of panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir began Saturday morning at 2,633 polling stations — 550 in the Kashmir division and 2,083 in the Jammu division.

The polling began at 8 am and will end at 2 pm.

According to the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shaleen Kabra, 361 polling stations have been categorised as ‘hypersensitive’ in this phase. Of these, 171 are in the Kashmir division and 190 in the Jammu division.

He said 6,304 candidates are in the fray for 331 sarpanch and 2007 panch seats in Phase-VIII, while 43 sarpanch and 681 panch have been elected unopposed in this phase.

He said in the areas going to polls in Phase-VIII, an electorate of 5,15,121 will be voting for sarpanch constituencies and 4,19,775 for panch constituencies.

“Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them about their polling station,” he said.

The CEO said at the end of seven phases of the panchayat polls, the state recorded an overall voter turnout of 73.8 per cent, with 44.4 per cent in the Kashmir division and 83.2 per cent in the Jammu division.

Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them about their polling stations.

He said senior government officers have been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of the panchayat elections.

“Also, Expenditure Observers are keeping a watch on the expenditure by the candidates. In addition, for the poll day, Micro Observers have been placed in polling stations, particularly those considered hypersensitive. Besides, the Zonal and Sector Magistrates too have been deployed,” he added.

The CEO said Control Rooms have been established in all the districts across the state to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the model code of conduct as also to disseminate information to the public.

Security arrangements have been made including deployment of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

He said the government has declared holiday on the day of polls in the panchayat areas to enable the voters to cast their vote.

He said special casual leave shall also be granted to the employees who have to go to other areas to exercise their right to franchise.

As per the standing guidelines, the central government offices shall not be closed but the employees who are voters of the wards going to polls Saturday can shall be offered reasonable facility to exercise their franchise, he added.

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