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PANCHAYAT POLLS-2018: Kashmir records 30% turnout in 7th phase: CEO.

Kashmir Valley Tuesday recorded a voter turnout of 30 percent in the seventh phase of panchayat elections, even as the overall polling percentage recorded across Jammu and Kashmir at the end of the polling time was 75, officials said.

According to figures released by the chief electoral officer Shaleen Kabra, 30.3 percent polling was recorded in six districts of Kashmir Valley.

The trend of low voter turnout continued in Anantnag district, where 15.5 percent electorate exercised their franchise on Tuesday.

During the recently-held urban local body elections as well as the ongoing panchayat polls, there has been a near-total boycott of the electoral exercise in Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama districts of southern Kashmir, which has witnessed a spurt in local youth joining militancy and civilian protests following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016.

Low voter turnout was also recorded in Baramulla and Budgam districts of Kashmir where 17.8 percent and 13.1 percent polling was recorded, respectively.The highest voter turnout in the Valley was recorded in Kupwara district where 45 percent electorate exercised their franchise. It was followed by Ganderbal district (30.9 percent) and Bandipora district (25.2 percent).

The trend of high voter turnout continued in Jammu province where 84.8 percent voters exercise their franchise—almost three times more than Kashmir.

According to CEO’s figures, 83 percent voter turnout was recorded in Ramban, 86.7 percent in Reasi, 85.5 percent in Samba, 83.7 percent in Jammu, 84 percent in Rajouri and 86.6 percent in Poonch.After the conclusion of the seventh phase, only two phases of the panchayat polls are left and these will be held on December 8 and December 11.

The nine-phased panchayat elections began on November 17, nearly a month after urban local body elections were conducted in the state in four phases between October 8 and October 16, by the governor’s administration.

Two major mainstream political parties National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party had decided against participating in the polls, while the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had asked people to boycott the electoral exercise.

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