Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir recorded 79.9 per cent voting Saturday in the penultimate phase of the nine-phased panchayat polls, state electoral officer Shaleen Kabra said. A massive 85.1 per cent polling was witnessed in five districts of Jammu division while encouraging 49.6 per cent was witnessed in five districts of Kashmir division, he said. Also Read - Amid Ladakh Standoff, India Raises 'Strong Concerns' Against Pak Forces Trying to Infiltrate Border
The voting in the eight phase began at 8 am at 2,633 polling stations – 550 in Kashmir division and 2,083 in Jammu division and ended peacefully at 2 pm. The highest 89.8 per cent was recorded in Reasi district of Jammu region, while the lowest 9.1 per cent was registered in Budgam district of central Kashmir, Kabra said. Also Read - Anantnag Encounter: Hizbul Commander, Two Other Terrorists Killed, 'Doda District Militancy Free,' Says J&K Police
He said Jammu recorded 84.8 per cent followed by Kathua and Samba — 84 per cent each, and Rajouri — 82.4 per cent. In the Kashmir Valley, Baramulla topped the turnout chart with 56.9 per cent followed by Kupwara — 53.8 per cent, Bandipora — 18 per cent and Srinagar — 11.6 per cent, Kabra said. Also Read - Jammu and Kashmir: Three Militants Shot Down in Anantnag Encounter; Search Underway
He said 6,304 candidates were in the fray for 331 sarpanch and 2,007 panch seats in this phase, while 43 sarpanchs and 681 panchs have been elected unopposed.
An electorate of 5,15,121 have the right to exercise their franchise for sarpanch constituencies and 4,19,775 for panch constituencies, he said.
At the end of seven phases of the panchayat polls, an overall voter turnout of 73.8 per cent has been recorded across the state, with a poll percentage of 44.4 per cent in Kashmir division and 83.2 per cent in Jammu division. The panchayat elections were held after a gap of 13 years with the first phase of polling on November 17. The last phase is scheduled to be held on December 11.