Srinagar, Oct 10: Very low voter turnout was recorded till 10 am on Wednesday in the second phase of the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections, in the 49 wards of Kashmir valley, where polling was underway.
The area saw unprecedented security arrangements, following a strike called by the separatists and apprehensions of militant attempt to the disrupt the process of elections. Meanwhile, a police official said that the second phase of ULB polls, which started at 6 am this morning, has been peaceful so far.
However, out of the 166 wards, where polling was supposed to be held in the valley in the second phase, the electorate is exercising their franchise only in 49 wards, as in the rest of the wards, there was either one candidate in the fray or no candidate at all. As many as 61 candidates have won unopposed, while in 56 wards, no nomination was received in the Kashmir valley in the second phase.
The lowest votes, 0.6 per cent, were polled in south Kashmir district of Anantnag, while the highest voter turnout of 14.2 per cent was recorded in Kupwara till 10 am.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra said that 0.8 per cent votes were polled in 19 wards of the summer capital, Srinagar, while 1.1 per cent electorate turned out to cast their votes in north Kashmir district of Baramulla till 10 am. Only 3 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 10 am in north Kashmir district of Kupwara, he added.
The voters remained unaware of the names of the candidates, which were concealed for security reasons. There was also no campaigning and majority of the candidates were kept under unprecedented security arrangements, following the killing of two National Conference (NC) workers at Karfali Mohalla in the old city last week.
However, NC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), besides the Communist Party of India (M), stayed away from the elections, leaving the field open for the BJP and Congress.
The Municipal wards going to polls today included Solina, Alochibagh, Sheikh Dawood colony Batmaloo, Ziarat Batmaloo, Shaheed Gunj, Karan Nagar, Chattabal, Qamarwari, Bemina east, Bemina west, Nundresh colony, Parimpora, Zainakote, Lawaypora, Mujgund, Tankipora, Haba kadal, Barbarshah, Fateh kadal, Munawarabad in Srinagar and Langate, Sumbal, Kunzar, Watergam, Chararshrieef, Beerwah, Magam, Yaripora, Frisal, Anantnag, Bijbehara in other parts of the valley.
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for a strike in these areas. (UNI)