by Saima Bhat
SRINAGAR: After having lowest votes in phase II of the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections at 8.3 percent in Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir is scheduled to go for phase III of the elections, this weekend.
With the sunset, the officials on duty reached their concerned stations amid tight security cover on Friday when Kashmir witnessed a complete shutdown over the death of scholar turned militant Dr Manan Wani.
The total of 151 wards under the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Municipal Committee Hajin, municipal councils in Sopore, Uri, Tral, Awantipore, Mattan, Pahalgam, Ashmuqam and Seer Hamdan in Kashmir division will be going under polls. The polling is for 41 candidates in 39 wards only. 50 wards have uncontested winners and 62 wards are vacant where no nomination was filed.
Out of them, there will be no polling in the wards falling under Hajin, Sopore, Tral, Awantipore, Pahalgam, Seer Hamdan and Ashmuqam areas for either having no candidate or have just one contestant.
In Hajin area of Bandipore district, 13 wards were scheduled to go under polls but in the ten wards, only single candidate submitted their nominations hence declared them winners uncontested while as in three wards, no nominations were submitted.
Separatists have sponsored a strike call on polling days for areas going to polls.
Under Srinagar Municipal Corporation, the 25 wards that are going for polls including the areas Lal Chowk, Rajbagh, Ikhrajpora, Mehjoor Nagar, Chanapora, Bagaat Barzulla, Rawalpora, Hyderpora, Khanka-e-Moualla, Mahraj Gung, Jamia Masjid, Makhdoom Sahib, Khawaja Bazar, Aquilmir Khanyar, Rouzabal, Doulatabad, Nawa Kadal, Safa Kadal, Rathpora andEidgah. While as six will remain uncontested because of single candidates. These areas include Natipora, Budshah Nagar, Islamyarbal, Nawab Bazar, Palpora and Tarabal.
The total number of voters for these wards are 1,53316 and the total number of contestants are 19.
In Islamabad’s Mattan area there are total thirteen wards for 4832 voters and out of them, seven wards are going under polling. Lonepora, Bongam, Saderbazar, Sikh mohalla, Pran Bhawan A, Pran Bhawan B and Kundpora. While as six wards have uncontested candidates.
For municipal council elections in Uri, thirteen wards are going to vote for which 12 candidates are in the ray. The officials from the area confirmed that thirteen polling stations have been set up for about 3223 voters for the said council. The areas undergoing polling include Bandi 1 to 3, Lagama, 6,7,8,10, 11, 12, 13 and Uri.
Other than these areas, the CEO has ordered for re-polling in the ward 23 of Municipal Council Anantnag tomorrow which went under polls in phase II of the elections.
Meanwhile, police have intensified vehicle checking, frisking of pedestrians and area domination in the Srinagar city and other poll-bound urban pockets in Kashmir to avert any untoward incident or possible attacks by the militants. Several check points have been set up to check private and public transport vehicles.
The ULB élections for two municipal corporations, three municipal councils and 72 municipal committees in the state shall be covered in four phases from 8 to 16 October and the date of counting is scheduled to be on October 20. The process of election will complete on 27 October.
The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), J&K, Shaleen Kabra this evening said that in the Phase-III of Municipal Polls-2018 voting will take place at 300 polling stations across the State tomorrow on October 13, 2018. The polling time, he said, will be from 6.00 am to 4.00 pm.
Kabra said that 365 candidates are in the fray for 96 wards of 8 Urban Local Bodies for the Phase-III comprising a total electorate of 193990 electors. He said the additional poll staff is being deployed at polling stations with a large number of electors.
He said the overall poll percentage in the first two phases of the Municipal Polls has been 47.2 percent. The CEO said that to ensure free and fair elections, observers have been deployed, including micro-observers at 222 hypersensitive polling stations in the Kashmir Division and 19 in Jammu Division.
The CEO said that Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State for voting. He said Photo Voter Slips have already been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station.
Kabra said senior government officers have been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of polls. “Expenditure Observers are also keeping a watch on the expenditure by the candidates,” he said and added that for the poll day Micro Observers have been deployed in polling stations, particularly those considered sensitive and hypersensitive.
“Besides, the Zonal and Sector Magistrates have been deployed to ensure smooth conduct of polls as well as monitoring the entire process,” CEO said and added that the Deputy Commissioners are undertaking Videography of all critical events related to the poll process.
Kabra said Control Rooms have been established in all the Municipal Bodies across the State to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) as also to disseminate information to the public. He said adequate security arrangements have been made for smooth conduct of polling across the State.