The first phase of Panchayat elections in Kashmir witnessed over 64 per cent of votes, while an impressive turnout of 79.5 per cent was recorded in Jammu region, said officials. The turnout in rural areas was significantly higher in Kashmir Valley, unlike during the recent urban local bodies elections where barely four per cent of the electorate voted.
A strike was called on Saturday by separatists who had asked people to boycott the polls.
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Major regional parties the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party had also decided not to participate in the local bodies polls.
Total polling percentage in Kashmir division was recorded 64.5 per cent as 1.05 lakh of 1.63 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the Valley, officials said.
Giving details, they said Srinagar district recorded 21.8 per cent followed by 30.14 per cent in Budgam, 70 per cent in Kupwara, 69.1 per cent in Baramulla, 56.2 per cent in Bandipora, 60 per cent in Leh and 77.7 per cent in Kargil.
The total polling percentage in Jammu division was 79.5 per cent as 2.35 lakh voters out of 2.95 lakh voted, they said.
In Jammu region, polling per cent in Kishtwar was 74.1 per cent, Rajouri 78.9, Poonch 78.7, Udhampur 83.6, Doda 80.8, Kathua 80 and Ramban 78.2 per cent, they added.
In Kashmir, the total number of electorate in these polling stations was 1,35,774, officials said.
Eight more phases of panchayat polls will be conducted in Jammu and Kashmir.
The first phase polling was held in 47 blocks, including 16 blocks in Kashmir, 21 in Jammu and 10 in Ladakh region.
The counting of votes will be held on November 27.