Panchayat Polls-2018: Voting to take place at 2633 polling stations in Phase-VIII

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515121 electors to exercise franchise for Sarpanch Halqas, 419775 for Panch Wards: CEO

Jammu: Voting for Phase-VIII of Panchayat Polls-2018 will be held tomorrow at 2633 polling stations across the State including 550 in Kashmir division and 2083 in Jammu division. The timing for polling is from 8 am to 2 pm.

According to the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shaleen Kabra, 361polling stations have been categorized as hypersensitive in this Phase including 171 in Kashmir division and 190 in Jammu division.

He said 6304 candidates are in the fray for 331 Sarpanch and 2007 Panch seats in Phase-VIII, while 43 Sarpanchs and 681 Panchs have been elected unopposed in this phase.

He said in the areas going to polls in Phase-VIII, an electorate of 515121 will be voting for Sarpanch constituencies and 419775 for Panch constituencies. “Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station,” he said.

The CEO said at the end of 7 Phases of Panchayat Polls, an overall voter turnout of 73.8% has been recorded across the State, with a poll percentage of 44.4% in the Kashmir division and 83.2% in the Jammu division.

Kabra said in Phase-VI of Panchayat Polls held on December 1, overall poll percentage of 76.9% was witnessed across the State including 84.6% in Jammu division and 17.3% in Kashmir division.

He said in Phase-V which went to polls on November 29, the State witnessed a poll percentage of 71.1% including 33.7% in Kashmir division and 85.2% in Jammu division.

He said in Phase-IV, the state witnessed a poll percentage of 71.3%, including 82.4% in Jammu division and 32.3% in Kashmir division. In Phase-III, the State witnessed a poll percentage of 75.2% which includes 55.7% in Kashmir division and 83.0% in Jammu division.

In the Phase-II of Panchayat Polls, overall 71.1% polling was witnessed across the State with 80.4% polling in Jammu division and 52.2% in Kashmir division.

Similarly, in the Phase-I of Panchayat Polls held on 17 November 2018, 74.1% polling was recorded across J&K including 64.5% in Kashmir division and 79.4% in Jammu division.

He said results have been announced for all these Phases by the respective Returning Officers.

The CEO said orders have been passed in various complaint cases as well as directions of the Courts and wherever necessary Notifications,  appointing the election schedules, have been issued. “All such orders/notifications are available at website of CEO J&K,” he said.

Kabra said Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State for Phase-VIII.  Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling stations.

He said senior government officers have been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of Panchayat Elections, 2018.

“Also, Expenditure Observers are keeping a watch on the expenditure by the candidates. In addition, for the poll day, Micro Observers have been placed in polling stations, particularly those considered hypersensitive. Besides, the Zonal and Sector Magistrates too have been deployed” he added.

The CEO said Control Rooms have been established in all the districts across the State to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct as also to disseminate information to the public. Security arrangements have been made including deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

He said the Government has declared holiday on the day of poll in the Panchayat areas going to polls so as to enable the voters to cast their vote. He said special casual leave shall also be granted to the employees who have to go to other areas to exercise their right to franchise.

As per standing guidelines, the Central Government offices shall not be closed but the employees who are electors of the poll going wards and desire to exercise their franchise shall be offered reasonable facility to do so he added.

The Chief Electoral Officer appealed the voters to come forward and exercise their right to franchise in order to choose their local self-government to address their local needs. (GNS)