Srinagar: The Municipal polls in Jammu and Kashmir that is taking place after a gap of 13 years, on Monday witnessed long queues in Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch districts while people barely arrived in the valley booths that wore a deserted look.
Enthusiastic voters lined up outside the polling stations in Gandhi Nagar, R.S.Pura, Arnia, Jurian, Khour, Akhnoor, Bishnah, Nowshera, Surankote, Kalakote, and at many other places from 7 a.m., as the polling began.
In the valley, the scene was just the opposite as the first phase of civic polls began amid boycott calls by the two key parties in the state — the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party.
A total of 218 votes were cast in the first two hours for the Baramulla Municipal Council, a poll official said.
A municipal ward in Badgam registered just four votes till 9 a.m., while eight votes were cast at one of the polling stations in Bandipora district, which registered 187 votes in two hours, the official said.
Kupwara registered 545 votes in 11 wards during the same time, while Handwara, where one of the prominent voters was MLA Sajjad Gani Lone, registered 263 votes.
In south Kashmir’s Anantnag, few voters turned out in Kokernag, Qazigund, Achabal and Devsar.
Reports from Leh and Kargil towns of Ladakh region said biting cold kept voters away, though the process was expected to pick ip as the day progressed and warmed up. Polling will end at 4 p.m.
Elections are being held in 422 of the state’s 1,145 municipal wards under heavy security.
As many as 1,204 candidates are in the fray for the four-phased municipal election, which will end on October 16. Counting of votes will take place on October 20.