Srinagar, Oct 09: Ahead of the crucial second phase of the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections in the state tomorrow, the authorities here said elaborate security and logistic arrangements have been put in place to ensure smooth conduct of the polls.
The second phase of polls is being held in the backdrop of strike call given by separatist leaders in the polling areas.
Official sources said that tight security arrangements have been put in place for smooth conduct of the second phase of elections which will take place from 6 am to 4 pm on Wednesday.
They said that second phase will cover a total of 384 wards spanning 13 districts across the state seven of which are in the Valley. 1,095 contestants are in the fray for the polls.
The police said that it has intensified vehicle checking, frisking of pedestrians and area domination in the Srinagar city and other poll-bound urban pockets in Kashmir Valley to avert any untoward incident or possible attacks by the militants. Several check points have been set up to check private and public transport vehicles.
The first phase of the polls had taken place on Monday. The elections to 2 municipal corporations, 3 municipal councils and 72 municipal committees in the state shall be covered in four phases from 8 to 16 October.
The polling will be held on 08, 10, 13 and 16 October respectively, while as the date of counting will be October 20. The process of election will complete on 27 October.
In the first phase, the polls have were held in three wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation besides Municipal Committees of Kupwara, Handwara, Bandipora and Baramulla in north Kashmir; Municipal Committees of Budgam, Chadoora and Khan Sahib in central Kashmir and Kulgam, Devsar, Achabal, Kokernag and Qazigund in south Kashmir. In addition, the polls were also held for Municipal Committees of Kargil and Leh in the first phase.
One of the top government officials here in the civil secretariat said that the government has formulated unprecedented security plan for the smooth conduct of upcoming Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and Panchayat elections in the state. “The plan covers safety and security of both contestants and the voters in most sensitive areas in Kashmir and elsewhere in the State,” said one of the top officials.
Adequate arrangements for the security of the candidates, their personal security as well as the accommodation arrangements have been made. Area domination, checking and operations have been going on to ensure general sense of security. Additional 400 companies of central security forces have already been deployed in the state over and above the security forces already stationed, he said.
Sources said that the Director General of Police reviewed the security situation in the state ahead of the second phase of the municipal elections and directed the police to ensure the security of both the contestants and voters.
The government has already announced that employees deployed on election duty would be paid a month’s additional salary.
The two main regional political parties National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party have decided to boycott the elections as they have asked the Central Government to clear its stand on the issue of Article 35-A and take steps for its protection. The Communist Party of India (CPI) also decided against participating in the polls keeping in view the prevailing situation in the valley.
The State Congress after deferring the decision for some time, of late announced its participation in the elections. The BJP and other Jammu based smaller parties are also participating in the elections.