The first phase of District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir has been conducted successfully with a voter turnout of 51.76%, State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma said on Saturday, 28 November.
The polling was by and large peaceful in the 43 constituencies of DDC that went to the polls on Saturday in which 3,62,766 voters, including 1,93,375 males and 1,69,391 females, out of 7,00,842 voters, exercised their franchise to choose their representatives in their respective councils, the SEC said in a press conference.
Sharma said that Reasi district recorded the highest polling at 74.62 percent, followed by Rajouri (70.52 percent), Poonch (68.69 percent), Samba (68.61 percent), Doda (64.49 percent), Kathua (62.82 percent), Jammu (61.49 percent), Ramban (64.21 percent), Udhampur (57.13 percent) and Kishtwar (55.16 percent) – all in Jammu division.
In the Kashmir division, Budgam district recorded the highest polling at 56.96 percent, followed by Kupwara (50.74 percent), Ganderbal (48.62 percent), Bandipora (43.57 percent), Anantnag 43.32 (per ent), Shopian (42.58 percent), Kulgam (34.35 percent), Srinagar (33.76 percent) and Baramulla (32.51 percent).
The SEC further said that large number of people came out to cast their votes in the first phase of DDC polls and panch/sarpanch bypolls. Long queues could be seen despite severe cold conditions in the Kashmir division and the hilly areas of the Jammu division, Sharma added.
The SEC further informed that arrangements for the second phase of polling to be held in 43 constituencies – 25 in Kashmir division and 18 in Jammu division – have been put in place.
This is the first electoral practice in the Union Territory of J&K after the abrogation of article 370 in August 2019. Last month, after the adoption of Panchayati Raj Act, 1969, the people of J&K were given the right to elect their representatives on the block, district and village levels like the rest of the country.
Adoption of J&K Panchayati Raj Act
The Union Cabinet on 21 October 2020 approved the adoption of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989. This was amended and notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 17 October.
The amendment paved the way for the establishment of elected District Development Councils in Jammu and Kashmir, members of which are being directly elected by voters of the Union Territory.
(With inputs from Times of India, ANI and IANS.)