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Phase-I of the Panchayat elections starts tomorrow; 420 candidates in fray for Sarpanch, 1845 for Panch seats

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Srinagar: All is set for the Phase-I of Panchayat Polls tomorrow with poling scheduled to take place at 3296 polling stations across the state, including 1303 in Kashmir and 1993 in Jammu Division. The timing of poll is from 8 am to 2 pm.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shaleen Kabra, 5585 candidates are in the fray for 420 Sarpanch and 1845 Panch seats in Phase-I. He said 85 Sarpanchs and 1676 Panchs have already been elected unopposed in Phase-I.
Kabra said 687 polling stations have been categorized as hypersensitive including 491 in Kashmir and 196 in Jammu Division.
He said in the areas going to polls in the Phase-I, 445059 electors will be voting for Sarpanch seats while 272792 will be polling for Panch constituencies.
Kabra said Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State. Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling stations.
He said senior government officers have been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of Panchayat Elections, 2018. Also, Expenditure Observers are keeping a watch on the expenditure by the candidates. In addition, for the poll day, Micro Observers have been placed in polling stations, particularly those considered hypersensitive. Besides, the Zonal and Sector Magistrates too have been deployed.
CEO said Control Rooms have been established in all the districts across the State to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct as also to disseminate information to the public. Security arrangements have been made including deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).
He said the Government has declared holiday on the day of poll in the panchayat areas going to polls so as to enable the voters to cast their vote. He said special casual leave shall also be granted to the employees who have to go to other areas to exercise their right to franchise. As per standing guidelines, the Central Government offices shall not be closed but the employees who are electors of the poll going wards and desire to exercise their franchise shall be offered reasonable facility to do so.
The Chief Electoral Officer, J&K appealed the voters to come forward and exercise their right to franchise in order to choose their local self-government to address their local needs.

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