The District Development Council (DDC) polls, the first since the erstwhile state was bifurcated into two union territories last year, recorded around 40 per cent polling in six hours in the first phase on Saturday. The final figures are still awaited.
Cold weather initially affected the turnout and was low as voting began at 7 a.m., officials said. However, as the day progressed and the mercury rose more and more voters were seen outside polling booths.
According to figures the first phase of DDC elections 2020 recorded voter percentage of 39.7 per cent across different constituencies spread over all the districts of Jammu and Kashmir till 1 p.m.
Raj Mohammad Sarpanch Fakir Gujri on the outskirts of Srinagar said they are voting for development in the area. "We can have a better access with the administration through these elections, which will in turn help us to solve the problems of our area," Mohammad said.
As per the figures given by the office of State Election Commissioner, in Kashmir Division, Kupwara recorded voting percentage of 34.11 per cent, Bandipora 34.18, Baramulla 25.58, Ganderbal 36.26, Srinagar 29.94, Budgam 47.45, Pulwama 6.08, Shopian 22.37, Kulgam 24.49 and Anantnag 26.65 with about an hour of polling still remaining.
DDC elections being held in Jammu and Kashmir are being held in five phases
Similarly, in Jammu division at 1 p.m., Kishtwar recorded voting percentage of 27.15, Doda 50.63 Ramban 54.91, Reasi 56.18, Udhampur 45.03, Kathua 54.24, Samba 59.29, Jammu 48.97, Rajouri 57.73 and Poonch 55.48.
Amid tight security and severe cold as the voting started large crowds though were witnessed in South Kashmir's Krerva. A 95-year-old, Letha Kohli at Faqir Gujri on the outskirts of Srinagar who has voted for many elections in the past said elections will help to bring relief to the people. "Elections will help to end poverty in our area, this will pave way for creation of more roads in our area" Kohli said.
For 43 constituencies going to polls in the first phase a total of 296 candidates are in the fray, 172 from Kashmir and 124 from Jammu. After the revocation of Article 370, the Center amended Jammu and Kashmir's Panchayat Raj Act-1989 to pave way for district development council polls in Jammu and Kashmir.