90 percent polling in J&K panchayat quota polls

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 03, 2012 16:41 hrs

Jammu, Dec 3 (IANS) Amid threats by militant groups for boycott, over 90 percent panchayat members Monday cast their votes for election to four panchayat quota seats in the Jammu and Kashmir legislative council, an official said.

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir, Umang Narula, told media persons after conclusion of polling: "It was an incident-free election and there was no untoward incident reported from anywhere in the state."

The counting will be held Dec 6.

He said over 90 percent members of panchayats cast their votes through electronic voting machines (EVMs) to elect four members of the state's legislative council.

Narula told reporters that in total there were eight reports of violation of model code of conduct during the poll process. "We are looking into them," Narula said.

The polls for the panchayat quota were held after 38 years in Jammu and Kashmir under the backdrop of threat by militants' organisations and separatist leaders calling for boycott of elections.

The contest was multi-cornered with all the parties fielding their candidates while the coalition partners National Conference (NC) and Congress shared two seats each in Jammu region and Kashmir Valley.

The opposition parties, including Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) and Panthers Party (PP) fielded candidates on all the four seats while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded nominees for three seats -- two in Jammu region and one in Kashmir valley. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) too fielded three candidates.

Of the total 36 seats in the state legislative council, six seats (four from Panchayat quota and two from local bodies) were vacant.

The electoral college, comprising elected panches and sarpanches, has a total of 33,540 votes. Jammu region has 15,628 votes and Kashmir Valley has 17,912.

The panchayat quota legislative council polls were last held in 1974.

Though it was polling for just four council seats it has become an issue of prestige for all the parties as it is an acid test in the run-up to the 2014 assembly elections in state.

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