New Delhi: The fourth phase polling of panchayat election which was held on Tuesday finally concluded. Low voter turnout was recorded in South Kashmir- Pulwama, Anantnag and Kulgam. Security was beefed up at 2,618 polling stations across Jammu and Kashmir. Voting began at 8 AM and came to an end at 2 PM in 639 polling stations in Kashmir and 1,979 in the Jammu division.Also Read - Jammu and Kashmir: 32 Students of Private School Test COVID +ve in Rajouri On First Day of School Reopening
According to the Chief Election Officer (CEO), 777 polling stations were categorised as hypersensitive in the fourth phase including 571 in Kashmir and 206 in Jammu. Also Read - Bharat Bandh: Delhi Police Tightens Security, Intensifies Patrolling At Borders | Key Updates
5, 470 candidates are in the fray for 339 Sarpanch and 1, 749 Panch seats in Phase-IV, while 99 Sarpanchs and 969 Panchs have been elected unopposed in this phase. Also Read - International Flights: Govt Makes Big Announcement, Says Flight Services From Srinagar to Sharjah to Start Soon
In the areas going to polls in the fourth phase, the electorate of 4,72,160 will be voting for Sarpanch constituencies, while 3,32,502 will be voting for Panch constituencies.
CEO said in the first phase of Panchayat Polls held on November 17, 74.1 per cent polling was recorded across the state including 64.5 per cent in Kashmir and 79.4 per cent in Jammu. In the second phase held on November 20, 71.1 per cent polling was witnessed in the state with an overwhelming 80.4 per cent polling in Jammu and 52.2 per cent in Kashmir.
In the third phase, the state witnessed a polling percentage of 75.2 per cent which included 55.7 per cent in Kashmir and 83 per cent in Jammu division.
Political parties including the National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), CPI(M), Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) have decided to stay away from these polls until the Centre clears its stand on Article 35-A.
The Supreme Court had on August 31 deferred the hearing on a bunch of petitions challenging Article 35A of the Constitution, as the Centre had urged the court to take up the matter after panchayat elections in the state.
The leaders have also appealed people not to participate in the poll process and also announced a Valley-wide protest shutdown.
The election to the urban local bodies was last held in 2005 and to panchayats in 2011 after a long hiatus. There were a number of militant attacks on candidates before and after these polls.
(With PTI inputs)