The administration has put in place multi-tier security around each polling booth to ensure that the voters are able to come out without any hassle.
State Election Commissioner KK Sharma informed that out of 280 DDC constituencies across J&K, 43 are going for polls in the second phase, including 25 in Kashmir and 18 in Jammu division. A total of 321candidates are in the electoral fray, including 196 from Kashmir and 125 from the Jammu division.
Of the 57 lakh voters across J&K, 7.95 lakh voters would vote in the second phase. The administration has set up 2142 polling stations across J&K including 837 in Jammu and 1,305 in Kashmir division. All the polling booths in Kashmir have been declared as sensitive and the administration has clubbed polling booths in some areas at one place to reduce security risk. The bypolls for sarpanchs and panchs are also being conducted and 58 sarpanchs and 804 panchs have been elected unopposed.
The administration has airlifted polling staff and material to far-flung areas like Gurez, which became inaccessible as roads were blocked due to heavy snowfall. The mobile Internet service could be snapped in sensitive areas in southern Kashmir — where some areas are going to the polls in the second phase.
The SEC has urged people to follow guidelines related to the Covid pandemic, maintain social distancing and wear face masks. The administration has kept ten litres of sanitizer, thermal scanners and face masks available at the polling booths. Special polling booths have been created for Kashmiri migrants at Jammu and Udhampur so that they can also participate in the election process. He said the West Pakistan Refugees participated in the election exercise for the first time.
The first phase of DDC election recorded around 52% voter turnout. The DDC elections and panchayat bypolls are being held in eight phases from November 28 to December 19. The counting of votes shall be conducted on December 22.
“I hope people will come out in good numbers without fear and participate in the polls so that DDCs are formed in each district to give development a new push,” said Sharma.