Fifth phase of polling for Jammu and Kashmir’s 37 district development council (DDC) seats has begun on Thursday along with voting for 58 vacant Sarpanch and 218 vacant Panch seats in Kashmir.
Two-time former minister and senior Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin is contesting from Paranpilla DDC seat of Uri in Baramulla. Mohiuddin was once tipped to be the chief minister candidate during PDP-Congress coalition government in J&K. He is facing a tough contest from the PAGD (People’s alliance for Gupkar declaration) candidate, Shaukat Ali Khan, who is from Sajjad Lone’s Peoples’ Conference.
On Tuesday night, police had stopped and questioned a close relative of Mohiudin near LoC following allegations that he was distributing money among the voters at Kamalkote.
Sajjad Lone accused the administration of trying to hush up a case of money distribution.
“Attempts to hush up a case involving distribution of money in Parenpeela, URI, DDC constituency. The constituency goes to polls tomorrow. The L-G has a moral duty to ascertain who all r(are) behind attempts to hush up the case,” Sajjad Lone tweeted late on Tuesday night.
Police, however, denied the allegations.
“A news is making the rounds in the media about the arrest of a close relative of a DDC candidate in Uri along with some government employees. However, routine nakas viz a viz security beef up and for checking of violation of model code of conduct were established at many places along the length and breadth of Paranpilla DDC constituency. During the search at one such naka in Kamalkote, a close relative of one DDC candidate was stopped and questioned along with his escort personnel. He and his escort personnel were frisked and his vehicle was thoroughly checked but nothing was found,” police said in a statement.
Out of the 37 DDC constituencies going to polls today, 17 are in the Kashmir division and 20 are in the Jammu division. 155 candidates including 30 females are in the fray for the 17 DDC seats in Kashmir division, said state election commissioner KK Sharma.
“In the Jammu division, there are 144 candidates in the fray for the 20 DDC constituencies in this phase, including 40 females,” he added in a media briefing on Tuesday evening.
The electoral officer said out of 125 sarpanch vacancies notified in the 5th phase, 30 have been elected unopposed.
“There shall be a contest in 58 constituencies and 175 candidates, including 51 females are in the fray. Out of the total 1,412 Panch vacancies notified in this phase, 218 constituencies will go for elections with 527 candidates including 137 female candidates.”
In this phase, Sharma said that 827,519 electors are eligible to cast their votes including 433,285 males and 394,234 females.
“Among these 439,529 are from Jammu division and 387,990 are from Kashmir division. And 2,104 polling stations have been set up across the UT for this phase, of which, 914 are in Jammu division and 1,190 are in Kashmir division.
Of 2,104 polling stations, 1,193 are hyper sensitive, 472 are sensitive and 439 have been categorized as normal,” Sharma said.