The sixth phase of the District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday witnessed 42.79% voter turnout till 1pm across 31 constituencies in 18 districts, officials said.
The polling has been smooth in the union territory so far with no untoward incident being reported from anywhere, they said.
Rajouri district in Jammu has recorded the highest voter turnout of 63.07% so far, while Shopian district in south Kashmir the lowest at a meagre 3.66%, the officials said.
As per the figures released by the office of the State Election Commissioner, Jammu Division recorded 56.90% voting, while Kashmir Division registered an overall polling percentage of 26.28% up to 1pm. The polling ended at 2 pm, but the final figures are yet to be released.
In Jammu Division, where most parts were engulfed by dense fog early in the morning, enthusiastic voters started thronging the polling stations at various places even before the start of the voting at 7am.
Rajouri district was followed in the voter turnout by Ramban at 61.91%, Reasi (61.21%), Poonch (60.73%), Samba (60.61%), Jammu (55.62%), Udhampur (54.69%), Doda (53.39%) and Kathua (50.09%), the officials said.
Similarly, in Kashmir Division, where most parts are reeling under subzero temperatures after the recent snowfall, Ganderbal recorded a voter turnout of 45.89%, followed by Kupwarar (41.21%), Kulgam (32.71%), Budgam (27.44%), Baramulla (26.68%), Anantnag (20.95%), Pulwama (6.80%) and Shopian (3.66%) till 1 pm, they said.
In the sixth phase of the DDC polls, voting was held in 31 DDC constituencies — 14 in Kashmir Division and 17 in Jammu Division.
For smooth conduct of the elections, 2,071 polling stations — 1,208 in Kashmir Division and 863 in Jammu Division — have been set up in this phase, where 7,48,301 electors (3,90,432 male and 3,57,869 female voters) were eligible to exercise their right to franchise. The maiden DDC elections, to be conducted in eight phases, commenced on November 28, and so far voters in 221 constituencies, out of total 280 across 20 districts, have registered their choice.
While the first phase on November 28 recorded the highest 51.76% polling, the subsequent phases on December 1, 4, 7 and 10 witnessed 48.62%, 50.53%, 50.08% and 51.20% polling, respectively.
The DDC polls, which are being held along with by-elections to panchayats, is the first democratic exercise in Jammu and Kashmir since it was reorganized as a union territory last year. Counting of votes is slated to take place on December 22.