Polling for 31 constituencies will begin on Wednesday morning in the seventh phase of ongoing District Development Council (DDC) polls.

Also, voting for 438 Panch and 69 Sarpanch seats will be conducted today simultaneously. People will cast their votes from 7 am to 1 pm.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma said that a total of 31 DDC constituencies will go to polls including 13 seats from the Kashmir division and 18 from the Jammu division.

He said that against the 13 DDC constituencies of the Kashmir division which will go to polls on Wednesday, there are 148 candidates in the fray including 34 females.

In the Jammu division, there are 150 candidates in the fray for the 18 DDC constituencies in this phase, including 38 females. A total number of 6,87,115 electors (3,59,187 male and 3,27,928 female voters) are going to elect their representatives in all 31 DDC constituencies, he said and added that a total of 1,852 polling stations have been designated with 1,068 in Kashmir division and 784 in Jammu division.

The SEC further informed that of 117 Sarpanch vacancies notified in the 7th phase of Panchayat by-elections. There shall be a contest in 69 constituencies, and 231 candidates including 79 females, are in the fray, he added.

He said that out of the total 1,270 Panch vacancies notified in this phase, 416 elected unopposed with 438 constituencies will go for elections with 1,000 candidates contesting the elections including 287 female candidates.

The SEC said that all the requisite arrangements for this phase are in place, including man-power, election material, and security arrangements in all poll-going areas.

Referring to the arrangements in place in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SEC said adequate arrangements have been put in place to ensure the safety of all stakeholders including the voters coming to vote at the polling stations.

“Sanitizers, thermal scanners, and face masks have been arranged at the polling stations to ensure that SOPs issued by the concerned authorities, including wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing, are strictly followed at the polling stations”, he added.

Parties including the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Peoples Conference and CPI(M), formed the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration and are fighting the maiden DDC elections together.

National parties BJP and Congress are also in the fray. Elections for the DDCs, which are being held in eight phases, will conclude on December 19 and the counting of votes be held on December 22.

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