Srinagar, Nov 29: Security for the ongoing District Development Council elections (DDC) has been strengthened in the valley.
In the first electoral exercise in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370, nearly 51.76 per cent turnout was recorded on Saturday in the maiden District Development Council (DDC) poll.
Top officials of the security agencies told news agency KINS that they are aware that the militants may try to prevent the election and there may be attacks. “Security for the elections in Jammu and Kashmir has been strengthened. Companies with 49 more security forces have already been deployed for the elections along with security agencies deployed in the valley,” one of the top police officials said, insisting not to be named.
Along with the DDC elections, there will be elections for sarpanches and panches lying vacant in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The entire Line of Control and the International Border have been beefed up to prevent intruders from infiltrating the plains as well as along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir” the official maintained.
These elections have become very interesting due to the participation of all political parties in local elections in Jammu and Kashmir and all the parties of the opposition are standing together in the electoral arena and they have a direct contest with the ruling BJP.
By-elections to around 13,241 vacant seats of sarpanchs and panchs and 228 vacant seats of the urban local bodies will also be held simultaneously. The polls will conclude on December 22. Refugees from West Pakistan, who got the domicile rights last year, are also entitled to exercise their right to vote for the first time.
This is the first electoral exercise in J&K since the abrogation of special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into two UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
Last month, the Union government had amended the J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, for the formation of the DDCs instead of district development boards, which existed in the erstwhile state of J&K. Each district in the UT will be divided into 14 territorial constituencies and voters will directly elect these council members.
On the first day of polling J&K’s Election Commissioner KK Sharma had said the first round of polling in the eight-phased poll passed off peacefully, except for a minor incident of stone-pelting in Kulgam.
Out of the 3.62 lakh voters, 1.93 lakh were men and 1.79 lakh women, he added. Jammu registered 64.2 per cent turnout and Kashmir 40.6 per cent, Sharma had told reporters in a press conference.