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PANCHAYAT POLLS-2018: In 4th phase Kashmir turnout down.

The voter turnout in the fourth phase of panchayat polls in Kashmir division Tuesday remained lower than the previous three phases, even as near-total boycott of the electoral exercise was witnessed in southern Anantnag and Pulwama districts.

According to figures released by J&K’s chief electoral officer Shaleen Kabra, 32.3 percent polling was recorded in seven districts of Kashmir division that went to polls in the fourth phase, even as the overall voter turnout across the state stood at 71.3 percent.

In the third phase, 55.7 percent polling was recorded in Kashmir division, while 52.2 percent and 64 percent turnout was recorded in the second and first phases, respectively.According to the figures, there was a near-total boycott of the electoral exercise in southern Kashmir where polls were held for a very less number of sarpanch and panch seats.

Majority of sarpanch and panch seats in the southern areas have either gone uncontested or no candidate filed a nomination.According to the figures, the turnout did not even reach mere 1 percent in Pulwama which recorded 0.6 percent polling at the end of the day.

Similarly, the polling percentage stood at 6.2 in Anantnag district and 14.5 in  Kulgam district, according to the official figures.Like the third phase, there was no contest on any seat in Shopian district.

The southern Kashmir has witnessed a surge in militancy and street protests following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016.According to the figures, Kupwara recorded 56.1 percent polling, Bandipora 24.4 percent, Baramulla 62.4 percent and Budgam 46.3 percent.

The polling percentage in Kishtwar was 82.3, the figures reveal.According to the CEO, Doda recorded 84.6 percent polling, Ramban 81.1 percent, Udhampur 78.9 percent, Kathua 80.7 percent, Jammu 85.2 percent, Rajouri 81.8 percent and Poonch 82.5 percent.

The CEO said 74.1% polling was recorded in the phase first, 71.1% in the second and 75.2% in the third phase.He said voting for the fifth phase will take place on November 29.

Meanwhile, chief secretary BVR Subrahmanyam has conveyed compliments from Governor Satya Pal Malik to the civil and police administration for “smooth, free, fair and peaceful conduct of panchayat polls amid challenging situation”, an official spokesman said.

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