People queue up from 7 a.m. despite sub-zero temperature in the Valley
Polls for the maiden District Development Council (DDC), a third tier of the Panchayati Raj, are under way in Jammu and Kashmir, despite cold weather and snowfall in many constituencies.
The first phase of the elections recorded a voter percentage of 22.12% across different constituencies spread over all the districts of the Union Territory till 11:00 am.
Polling started around 7 a.m. and people were seen queuing up to cast their vote despite the sub-zero temperature in the Valley.
In north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, the Sumbal block recorded 6.71% polling up to 9 a.m.
Gurez, which witnessed heavy snowfall recently, also recorded around 2% voting up to 9 a.m.
Polling is also picking up pace in north and south Kashmir.
In Jammu, voters showed enthusiasm and flocked to the polling booths, including in the Chenab Valley’s Doda district.
A total of 280 constituencies will witness polls in eight phases in 20 districts of the Union Territory.
Forty-three constituencies, including 25 in Kashmir and 18 in Jammu, are going to the polls on Saturday.
Around 296 candidates are in the fray, including 207 male and 89 female candidates, in Phase I.
Panchs bypolls are also being held in 368 constituencies, in which 852 candidates are in the fray.
“More than 57 lakh voters in J&K are eligible to cast their votes, of whom 7 lakh voters shall use their right to vote in Phase I,” State Election Commissioner K.K Sharma said.
He also said that out of 7 lakh voters, more than 3.72 lakh are from Kashmir division and 3.28 lakh are from Jammu division.
“Sanitisers, thermal scanners and face masks shall also be provided to the voters, in case they forget to carry their own face masks. People should come forward and participate in the biggest festival of democracy,” Mr. Sharma said.