Just 8.3 per cent of the electorate voted in the first-phase of the urban local body polls in militancy-wracked Kashmir Valley while brisk voting was seen in almost all the wards in Jammu region with Rajouri registering the highest votes on Monday.
Amid tight security, long queues of enthusiastic voters were seen in almost all the municipal corporation and municipal committee wards in Jammu district where 34 per cent polling was recorded in five hours, as Rajouri registered 55 per cent and Poonch 47.
Voting continued peacefully in Gandhi Nagar, RS Pura, Bishnah, Arnia, Khour, Jurian, Akhnoor, Nowshera, Surankote and Kalakote areas and many other wards.
There was poor turnout in the Kashmir Valley in the first phase of the civic polls that took place amid boycott calls by the two key parties in the state -- the National Conference and the People's Democratic Party.
Polling in 83 wards of the valley began at 7 am and ended at 4 pm amidst tight security.
"Only 7,057 voters of the 84,692 eligible persons turned up to vote in the wards which went to polls Monday. The polling was by and large peaceful," the official said.
The polls to urban local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in four phases with the first completed Monday.
Heavy polling was witnessed in Kargil and Leh, which recorded turnouts of 78 per cent and 52 per cent respectively, the official said.
In north Kashmir, the Kupwara Municipal Committee recorded a high voter turnout of 36.6 per cent, while 27.8 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise at wards of the Handwara Municipal Committee.
Out of the 30,074 voters in three wards of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, 1,862 turned up at heavily-fortified polling stations.
Budgam recorded a turnout of 17 per cent while Anantnag 7.3 per cent. Baramulla recorded a turnout of 5.7 per cent and Bandipora the lowest 3.3 per cent, the official said.
Polling was held for only 83 wards in the valley Monday as 69 were won uncontested.
Of the 150 polling stations in the Kashmir division, 138 polling stations were categorised as hypersensitive.
The first-phase of the elections in the valley remained by and large peaceful with some minor incidents of stone pelting reported from Bandipora district where a BJP candidate was injured after being targeted by miscreants.
The polls were announced last month but two major political parties -- the National Conference (NC) and the PDP -- boycotted the elections accusing the Centre of not taking a firm stand on the protection of Article 35A of the Constitution which is facing a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.
Militants had issued threats to anyone participating in these polls, resulting in absence of any campaigning by the candidates. They had also killed two NC workers,
In several wards, especially those in south Kashmir, no candidate filed nomination papers for the polls.
For ensuring security of candidates, they were moved to safe locations and their details were not made public.
The election authorities also kept the identities of the contesting candidates from the valley secret due to security reasons, prompting the people to term these polls as 'secret elections'.
Elections are being held in 422 of the state's 1,145 municipal wards. As many as 1,204 candidates are in the fray for the four-phased municipal polls that will end on October 16.
Counting of votes will take place on October 20.
(With inputs from agencies)
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