Jammu and Kashmir: Second Phase of Municipal elections begins

Polling for the second phase of the municipal elections began on Wednesday in Jammu and Kashmir.

Voting began at 6 am amid stringent security arrangements and will conclude at 4pm.

According to the officials, voting would take place at 544 polling stations across the state, 1,029 candidates – 881 in Jammu division and 148 in Kashmir division – are in the fray for 263 municipal wards, including 49 in Kashmir and 214 in Jammu.

A total 65 have won the polls uncontested, including 61 from Kashmir Valley. while in 56 wards all in the valley – no nomination was received, so no polling is taking place in those places, officials said.

Massive security arrangements have been put in place to ensure smooth conduct of the polls.
The government has declared holiday on a poll day in the municipal areas.

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah expressed concerns about opening of polling booths at 6AM.

“Why are polling booths opening at 6AM? If I believed conspiracy theories I’d believe it’s because journalists won’t be around to verify the genuineness of voters at that very early hour,” Abdullah tweeted.

The Municipal elections are taking place in the state after a gap of 13 years. But two key parties in the state, the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), have abstained from the elections over the contentious issue of Article 35A.