Jammu/Srinagar: Voting started for the second phase of Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday amid tight security as voters started trickling out to exercise their franchise. Large contingents of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed at the polling stations to ensure a peaceful process.
The winter chill though allowed very few voters to arrive at the polling stations in the valley, while small queues were seen at many polling stations in the Jammu region since morning. The polls were being held at 2,179 polling stations including 828 in the valley and 1,351 in Jammu division. Polling started at 8 a.m. and will end at 2 p.m. A poll official said 4,014 candidates were in the fray for 281 Sarpanch and 1,286 Panch seats in the second phase.
A total of 90 Sarpanchs and 1,069 Panchs have already been elected unopposed in this phase. Keeping the law and order situation in view, 601 polling stations have been categorised as hypersensitive, including 490 in Kashmir division and 111 in Jammu. A total of 3,29,818 electorates will be voting for Sarpanch constituencies and 2,07,796 for Panch constituencies. Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station.
Panchayat polls were being held in nine phases in the state. For the first phase held on November 17, an overall percentage of 74.1 was registered in the state while 64.6 per cent voters came out in the Kashmir Valley, 79.4 per cent came out in the Jammu division. Panchayat polls were last held in the state in 2011.