In the volatile Kakapora area of South Kashmir, the polling station housed at a Panchayat Ghar was heavily guarded, where a small group of panchayat members, including women, dropped in to cast their vote in the first Block Development Council (BDC) elections.
Of the nine panchayat members, who formed the electoral college at Kakapora-A block, eight were Pandits. After they polled their votes, they left in a hurry, escorted in a security vehicle.
For strengthening the Panchayati Raj Institutions, the state held BDC elections amid tight security and a lock-down. Out of 316 blocks, elections were held in 310 and over 98 per cent polling was recorded.
While the state government has been terming the election as historic, questions are being raised over their credibility as all mainstream political leaders, except those from the BJP, are in detention since the abrogation of Article 370. The major parties, except the BJP, boycotted the elections.
The fear was palpable at Kakapora with security men keeping a close watch on the situation. 'All votes registered at the polling station were polled by 11 am,”' said Mr. Reyaz Ahmed, Returning Officer.
One of the two candidates at Kakapora, Mr. Manoj Pandita said he was looking forward to developing his area. 'I have not seen any development in my area in the last three decades. I want to work for it,' said the BJP candidate.