Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir): The polling for the 5th phase of panchayat elections began in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. The polling, which commenced at 8 am, will conclude at 2 pm. As of now, no violence has been reported from any part of the state where the voting is taking place. The voting is taking place in a total of 37 blocks including 19 in seven districts of Jammu division and 18 blocks of Kashmir Valley. For hassle-free voting, the poll body has set up as many as 2,512 polling stations across the region including 1,743 in Jammu division and 769 in Kashmir Valley.
Moreover, 848 polling booths have been categorised as hypersensitive. Security has been beefed up across the state so that the elections are conducted in a peaceful manner. Majority of the candidates have been provided with either cluster security or individually in the region. The overall turnout for the fourth phase of panchayat body elections which concluded peacefully on November 27 was 71.3 per cent.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir, Shaleen Kabra, over 82 per cent polling was registered in Jammu division and 32.3 per cent in Kashmir division in the fourth phase of voting. The panchayat elections are being held in nine phases in the state.
The sixth phase of panchayat polling is scheduled to take place on December 1 and the counting of votes will take place on the same day. The last panchayat polls in the state took place in 2001.