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Another dismal turnout; Civic polls conclude with 4.2% voting in 4th phase

Srinagar, Oct 16: In the fourth and last phase of the urban local bodies elections, Kashmir recorded a poll percentage of 4.2 on Tuesday.
The trend of low turnout continued in 308 polling stations in the central districts of Srinagar and Ganderbal.
The voter turnout in Srinagar was 4 percent while Ganderbal district recorded 11.3 percent.
The overall voter turnout of phase IV has been 4.2 percent.
In the first three phases, the Kashmir recorded a voter turnout of 8.3, 3.4, and 3.5, respectively.
Repolling was also held at polling station number nine – Bachidarwaza of Makhdoom Sahab (ward number 41) – where five candidates were in the fray with a total electorate of 1,260. Only 262 votes were cast.
Jammu recorded a voter turnout of 68.4 in first three phases.
The overall poll percentage of all phases across the state has been 35.1 percent.
For phase IV, 202 candidates were in the fray of which 52 candidates have been elected unopposed while 44 wards received no nominations for the 132 wards across eight bodies.
In the first four hours, only 1.8 per cent of electorate cast their votes in 37 wards of Srinagar and Ganderbal districts.
At Anchar of Soura area, clashes erupted between anti-poll protestors and the government forces on Tuesday morning.
“We don’t know who is contesting from here,” an elderly man Habibullah said standing outside a polling booth.
At Sabzi Market Soura, only one vote was cast out of 8000 voters in nine booths till 1 pm where the clashes continued for hours.
A local said that forces were deployed outside a building last night at 11 pm. “Once the forces were deployed, some of the youth threw stones,” the local said.
“We are sitting idle here but there are clashes outside. Only few voters turned up since morning,” an official at a polling booth said.
A local Shabir Ahmad said they don’t know who was contesting from there. “Nobody will vote from here,” Shabir said.
At these polling booths, there were no polling agents.
The scenes were no different at a polling booth in Elahibagh where only 20 out of 2000 had cast their vote till afternoon.
An Independent candidate, Shazia Khan was also attacked by protestors outside a polling booth at Nowshera.
In several polling booths at a noted school at Lalbazaar, only six voters had cast their vote till afternoon.
In a polling booth at Kanitar, only the contestant had cast vote by 2 pm.
In most booths of Nishat and Shalimar areas, the voter percentage was very low.
However, the voter turnout was quite better in Fakir Gujri area.
Lower voter turnout was also recorded from Hazratbal, Sonawar, and Dalgate areas.
In few areas of Ganderbal district, voters were waiting in small queues where the voter turnout was 11.3 percent.
The counting for the four-phased polls which began on October 8 will be done on October 20.
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.