Polling for the fifth phase of the District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir is underway on Thursday.
A total of 37 constituencies - 20 in Jammu and 17 in Kashmir divisions will witness polling between 7 am and 2 pm today. Besides, voting will also be held for 58 vacant sarpanch and 218 vacant panch seats.
Against 17 DDC constituencies of Kashmir division, 155 candidates are in fray including 30 females whereas, in Jammu division, 144 candidates are in fray for 20 DDC constituencies, including 40 females.
"There are 125 sarpanch vacancies which have been notified in the fifth phase and out of these 30 have been elected unopposed. There shall be a contest in 58 constituencies and 175 candidates, including 51 women, are in the fray," State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma said on Wednesday.
Out of the total 1,412 panch vacancies notified in this phase, 218 constituencies will go for elections with 527 candidates, including 137 women in the fray.
He said 8,27,519 electors are eligible to cast their votes which includes 4,33,285 males and 3,94,234 females. While 4,39,529 voters are in the Jammu division, 3,87,990 are in the Kashmir division.
Sharma said that all the requisite arrangements for this phase of polling are in place including manpower, election material and security arrangements.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, adequate arrangements have been put in place to ensure the safety of all stakeholders including the voters, he had said.
The fourth phase of DDC elections held in 34 constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday saw over 50 per cent turnout.
Earlier, the first phase of DDC elections on November 28 saw 51.76 per cent voter turnout while the second phase polls witnessed 48.62 per cent on December 1 and the third phase of DDC elections on December 4 registered voter turnout of 50.53 per cent.
The DDC election is being held in eight phases and will continue till December 19. The counting of votes will take place on December 22. The elections are the first being held after the abrogation of Article 370 and the reorganisation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.