SRINAGAR, OCT 04: Not a single candidate has filed nomination papers for 177 municipal wards out of a total 624 in the Kashmir Valley, while 215 wards will return their representative unopposed. For rest of the seats, 3037 candidates are in fray for now.
The filing of nomination papers for the four-phase municipal polls ended on Tuesday. Voting is scheduled for October 8, 10, 13 and 16.
The last date to withdraw nomination for phase 3 ended on Wednesday. After withdrawal of 15 candidates from third phase, total number of candidates stands at 3037. However, the correct number will be clear after tomorrow when the last date withdraw nomination ends for phase 4.
However two lakh electorates not to exercise voting rights. The municipal and panchayat poll boycott called by the separatists has adversely impacted the south Kashmir districts of Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian where the 177 municipal wards did not witness any filing of nomination papers.
The rest had just one candidate left in the fray. Given the situation of zero candidates in 177 wards, over one lakh electorates would not be exercising their voting rights. Another one lakh voters in 215 other wards would also not exercise their franchise as each of these wards has just one contestant.
The National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have decided not to participate in these elections.
Due to lack of competition, Bharatiya Janata Party candidates have swept all the seats in Shopian civic body. The party, which has condemned the election boycott by regional parties, declared the walk over win as historic and claimed that BJP will emerge as victorious across the state.
Meanwhile the peaceful conduct of Municipal and Panchayat elections would be a major challenge for the Governor’s administration. Authorities have promised personal security and secured lodgings to contestants in these polls.
A total of 400 additional companies of paramilitary forces were to be deployed to ensure peaceful conduct of these polls.
From past few days Hizbul Poster threatening candidates from fighting the civic polls had surfaced in old city areas of Srinagar on Wednesday morning. The posters asked candidates to drop nomination and report to a mosque or face death. (PTK)