98.3% turnout in J&K BDC polls
Jammu and Kashmir recorded 98.3 per cent turnout in elections for its 310 Block Development Councils in which 27 out of 1092 in fray were elected unopposed.

Srinagar/New Delhi (NVI): In the first electoral exercise since abrogation of its special status under Article 370, the Jammu and Kashmir recorded 98.3 per cent turnout in elections for its 310 Block Development Councils in which 27 out of 1092 in fray were elected unopposed.

“98.3 per cent polling was recorded in Jammu and Kashmir,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar said, adding that Srinagar in the Kashmir division, recorded a 100 per cent turnout.

The Congress, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) and Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and CPI(M) had boycotted  the BDC polls that were held on party basis, leaving the field open to the independents and the BJP which had fielded candidates in 280 blocks.

There are 316 blocks in the state, but the elections were held in 310 of these as two are without elected panches and sarpanches, and four blocks reserved for women have no women candidates, according to official sources.

The poll percentage for the 10 districts in the Kashmir region was 93.65 per cent and 99.4 per cent for the 10 districts in the Jammu region, Kumar said.

There were 26,629 electors — 8,313 women and 18,316 men — for the polls to elect chairpersons of BDCs, which are organisations in the second tier of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), an official statement said.

PRIs have three levels — village, block and district — and election for the first tier were held last year, which was also boycotted by the NC and the PDP.

Srinagar recorded a 100 per cent turnout, the highest in the Valley, while Shopian and Pulwama districts saw turnouts of 85.3 and 86.2 per cent respectively, the lowest in the region, Kumar said.

In the Jammu region, Reasi saw a 99.7 per cent turnout and Jammu 99.5 per cent. Ladakh recorded 97.8 per cent polling, Kumar said, adding that the election was held through a secret ballot.

The highest number of candidates were in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district (101) and the lowest in south Kashmir’s Shopian (4).

-nad