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Guv Malik meets Rajnath, discusses Kashmir situation

SRINAGAR

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik Wednesday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed the situation in the state, where the elections to the urban local bodies were held today, officials said.

During the half-an-hour meeting, the governor apprised Singh about the law and order in the state, particularly in militancy-wracked Kashmir Valley.

The governor also briefed the home minister on the ongoing urban local bodies polls in Jammu and Kashmir, an official privy to the meeting said. The state is currently under the governor’s rule and Malik is the administrative head of the state.

The second phase of the four-phased urban local bodies polls was underway Wednesday.

Threats from militant groups kept a majority of people away from polling booths in Kashmir Valley where the turnout was a paltry 8.3 per cent in the first phase of the polling Monday. Jammu and Ladakh divisions saw over 65 per cent of the electorate casting vote in the first phase of urban local body polls on Monday.

The election process is underway to elect 4,130 ‘sarpanches’ (village headmen), 29,719 ‘panches’ (panchayat members) and 1,145 ward commissioners in the state.

A total of 3,372 nominations have been filed for 1,145 municipal wards. The next phases will take place on October 13 and 16.

The urban local body polls were announced last month. Two major political parties — the National Conference and the PDP — have boycotted the elections accusing the Centre of not taking a firm stand on protection of Article 35-A of the Constitution, which is facing a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.

Militants have issued threats to anyone participating in these polls, resulting in absence of any campaigning by the candidates. Two National Conference workers were killed last week.

In dozens of wards, especially in south Kashmir, no candidate filed nomination papers.

Candidates who are contesting have been moved to safe locations and their details have not been made public.

The panchayat polls in the state will be held in nine phases starting November 17.

(PTI)

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