The first phase of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Elections that took place amid heightened security in the face of militant threats on Saturday recorded an impressive voter turnout of 74.1 per cent. According to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shaleen Kabra, over 64 per cent of the electorate has voted in Kashmir while Jammu region recorded 79.5 per cent polling in the first phase of Panchayat elections in 47 blocks across the state. In comparison to the recent urban local bodies' elections, the turnout in rural areas was significantly higher in the Kashmir valley.
Though the overall polling process was conducted quite peacefully, minor clashes and stone-pelting incidents have been reported in Mendhar area of Poonch district. Separatists who asked people to boycott the polls had called for a strike on Saturday. However, no damage has been reported during the protest. Technical glitches had led to re-polling at a booth in Kishtwar's Atholi.
There will be eight more phases of Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir. The first phase of polls is being held after a delay of two years and the state is currently under the Governor's rule. The counting of votes will be taken up on November 27.
On October 31, BJP state secretary Anil Parihar and his brother Ajeet were shot dead by unknown assailants while they were returning from their shop in Kishtwar district. The two were fired upon from close range at a dark, narrow lane leading to their house.