Polling for the fourth phase of the District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir began on a dull note as fog and chilly weather kept most people indoors early on Monday, officials said.
The polling for 34 DDC seats — 17 in the Kashmir division and 17 in the Jammu division — began at 7 am but the turnout was less at polling stations in the Valley due to biting cold, they said.
Voter turnout is expected to pick up later in the day, and polling is scheduled to conclude at 2 pm, the officials.
There are 138 candidates, including 48 women, in the fray in the Kashmir division, while in the Jammu division, 111 candidates, including 34 women, are contesting in the fourth of the eight-phase DDC polls, which began on November 28.
By-elections to vacant panch and sarpanch seats in the Union Territory are also being held along with the DDC polls.
There were 123 sarpanch vacancies notified in the fourth phase and out of these, 45 got filled unopposed. Polling is being conducted in 50 constituencies and 137 candidates, including 47 women, are in the fray, the officials said.
Out of the total 1,207 panch vacancies notified in this phase, 416 got filled unopposed. Voting is taking place in 216 constituencies and there are 478 candidates, including 129 women, in the fray, they said.
In the fourth phase, 7,17,322 people are eligible to vote and this includes 3,76,797 men and 3,40,525 women. Of the total, 3,50,149 electors are from the Jammu division and 3,67,173 are from the Kashmir division, the officials said.
There are 1,910 polling stations set up across the Union Territory for this phase, out of which 781 are in the Jammu division and 1,129 are in the Kashmir division.
Out of the total polling stations, 212 have been allotted for by-elections to vacant sarpanch seats and 219 for panch seats.
The officials said that 1,152 polling station have been categorised as hypersensitive and 349 as sensitive.