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Municipal polls end peacefully in J&K

Srinagar : The fourth and final phase of municipal polls ended peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday with a dismal 4 per cent voting in Srinagar district and an equally poor 11.3 per cent voter turnout in neighbouring Ganderbal district.

Of the 37 wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, polling was held in 36 wards while re-poll was held in one ward. Twelve wards of the Ganderbal Municipal Committee also went to the polls.

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Except for a stone pelting incident in Soura in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state and the urban hub of a dragging separatist campaign, all four phases of the municipal polls that started on October 8 ended peacefully.

An overwhelming deployment of security personnel maintained peace but voting in the troubled Kashmir Valley was mostly meagre.

The elections were boycotted by the Kashmir Valley’s two main political parties — National Conference and People’s Democratic Party. The CPI-M also kept away from the election.

Srinagar city and the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama recorded the lowest voter turnout.

In contrast, Jammu province witnessed mass participation.

Borders areas like Uri in Baramulla district in the Kashmir Valley also witnessed a large voter turnout.

A total of 241,043 voters were eligible to vote in the 24 wards of Srinagar and 8,491 in Ganderbal on Tuesday.

There were 156 candidates in the fray for the two urban local bodies, State Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra said.

Mobile Internet services were suspended in both districts during the voting.

Voters trickled into the polling stations in ones and twos in the first six hours in Srinagar. Early morning rain accompanied by chilly winds hampered the process further.

There was only around 40 per cent turnout in the last three phases on October 8, 10 and 13, with most voting taking place in the Jammu region.

Municipal polls were last held in Jammu and Kashmir in 2005. The vote count will take place on October 20.

—IANS

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