STATE TIMES NEWS Jammu: The maiden Jammu and Kashmir Block Development Council (BDC) polls on Thursday will see 1,065 candidates in the fray across 310 polling stations, with Congress, NC and PDP boycotting the first electoral exercise after abrogation of the state’s special status. There are 26,629 electors — 8,313 women and 18,316 men — for the polls to elect chairpersons of BDCs, officials said. They said adequate security arrangements have been made at the polling stations, and for Panchs and Sarpanchs, who will vote in the BDC elections. There are 316 blocks in the state, but the election will be held in 310 as two are without elected Panchs and Sarpanchs and four blocks reserved for women have no women candidates, the officials said. Ballot boxes will be used in the election. They said 1,092 nominations, including 853 Independents, were found eligible after scrutiny and withdrawal. Twenty-seven candidates were elected chairpersons in various BDCs unopposed, leaving 1,065 in the fray, the officials said. The highest number of candidates are in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district (101) and the lowest in south Kashmir’s Shopian (4). Congress, CPI(M), National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are not taking part in the elections which are being held on party basis. The Congress has announced its decision to boycott the elections citing “indifferent attitude” of the state administration and continued detention of its leaders in Kashmir. There are 90 candidates in Baramulla, 82 in Jammu, 76 in Rajouri, 74 in Doda, 72 in Kathua, 58 each in Udhampur and Budgam, 44 in Kishtwar, 43 in Ramban and 39 in Reasi, the officials said. Leh and Kargil districts together account for 74 candidates, 38 from Kargil and 36 from Leh. Five candidates are in the fray from Srinagar district. There would be one polling station for one BDC, and accordingly, 310 polling stations have been setup in the state, one in each block where elections are to be held, the officials said.
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