45 out of 49 wards in Anantnag, Kulgam didn’t witness any voting

At least 45 out of 49 wards didn’t witness any voting in the first phase of urban local body elections in twin districts of Kulgam and Anantnag in southern Kashmir on Monday, as contestants were either elected unopposed or there were no contestants at all.
According to an official source, in the four wards of municipal committee Kokernag, where the election was conducted amid tight security, only 119 out of 1662 cast their vote, with three wards witnessing just a little over 2 percent turnout. Elsewhere, candidates were either elected unopposed or no one had filed a nomination.
An official told Kashmir Post that only 7 votes out of 904 were polled in Hangalgund ward number 13 (0.77 percent) and 4 votes out of 218 in WaniMohala ward number 11 (1.83 percent). However, he said, in WagayMohalla ward number five, 106 votes were cast out of 276 (38.4 percent).
“The good turnout in ward number 5 led the overall voting percentage in four wards of municipal committee Kokernag to jump to 7.16 (119 votes were polled out of 1662 in total),” the official said.
He said that in other nine designated wards in municipal committee Kokernag, the elections could not be held as 8 candidates were elected unopposed while no nomination was filed in one ward.
In rest of the four wards where elections were held, eight candidates were in the fray—two in each ward.
The official said that most of 16 candidates in fray are affiliated to Congress while others have filed their nomination as independents.
“No BJP candidate is contesting from MC Kokernag,” the official said.
The polls were held Monday amid thick deployment of police and paramilitary forces in and around the polling booths where even media-persons, having passes issued to them by the local election authorities, disallowed to cover the poll proceedings.
Meanwhile, no election was held in municipal committees in Achabal and Qazigund areas of Anantnag district, which were scheduled to go for polls Monday.
“In eight designated wards of municipal committee Achabal, 7 candidates were in fray,” an official said.
He said that in four wards, no one had filed a nomination, while in three other wards, the candidates have been elected unopposed.
“Three of the candidates, two among them a mother-son migrant Kashmiri Pandit duo, are affiliated with BJP,” he said.
In seven designated wards of MC Qazigund, six candidates—majority of them affiliated to BJP—have been elected unopposed.
“In one ward, no one had filed nomination,” the official said.
Elections were also not held in two municipal committees in Kulgam district—MC Kulgam and MC Devsar—which went to polls in the first phase.
“In 13 designated wards of municipal committee Kulgam, only 6 candidates filed nominations and all of them have been elected unopposed,” said an official.
He said that in other seven wards, none of the candidate had filed the nomination papers.
The candidates declared elected unopposed are either affiliated to BJP or are independents, he said.
“In eight municipal wards of municipal committee Devsar, eight candidates had filed the nomination–one in each ward. All of them have been declared winners unopposed,” an official said.
All of them are mostly migrant Kashmiri Pandits and affiliated to BJP, he said. “So BJP is set to have its chairman in this municipality.”

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