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68.27 pc polling recorded in Udhampur LS seat amid rains

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JAMMU: Undeterred by the weather vagaries across the expansive canvas of the five districts of Doda, Kathua, Kishtwar, Ramban, and Udhampur underwent polling as the voters embraced their civic duty with fervor and exhibited unwavering determination. Undaunted by the challenges, the polling parties, ensured the first phase of polls in Jammu and Kashmir were held with grace and resolve.

The polling for First Phase of General Elections to 18thLok Sabha in Parliamentary Constituency Udhampur has concluded peacefully. Till releasing this press brief, the voting percentage was around 68.27%. It is especially highlighted that due to weather latest updated reports are awaited from some of the Polling Stations, specially located in remote hilly areas of Kishtwar, Gandoh, Ramban, Dudu-Basantgarh etc, the polling percentage is likely to increase slightly. Once all Polling parties, especially of remote areas reaches respective District Head quarters, the firm poll percentage will be known and the same will be shared separately with media.
After two hours of polling, 8.44 per cent polling was recorded in the constituency at 09:00 pm. By 11:00 am, 22.60 per cent voters had cast their votes, while by 01:00 pm, 43.11 per cent votes were cast. By 3:00 pm, 57.09 per cent voting was recorded. By 5:00 pm, 65.08 per cent polling was recorded in the constituency.
District wise breakup is 67.75 per cent for Kishtwar, 66.42 per cent for Doda, 62.42 per cent for Ramban, 70.76 per cent in Udhampur and 70.06 per cent in Kathua District.
There were 2,637 Polling stations set up for 16.23 lakh electors of 5 Districts. More than 11,000 polling staff has performed poll duty. Actual polling started from 7.00 am and continued till 6.00 pm or conclusion of polling row, whichever was later. At every polling stations, basic minimum facilities of water, electricity, toilet, ramp, verandah/ waiting room etc were made. Even wheel chair and helper were provided to needy voters. Around 1440 polling stations had CCTV for live webcasting to control rooms.
In order to ensure inclusive voting, 19 number of polling booths manned by women (also called as pink polling stations), 14 number of polling booths manned by specially abled persons and 17 number by youths. Also, in order to spread message about environmental concern, there were 20 green polling stations. To facilitate voters identification, apart from EPIC card, other documents such as Aadhaar Card, Bank Passbooks, Driving License, PAN Card, Govt employee ID card etc documents were also allowed as per ECI directions. Media facilitation was done through the passes for more than 660 journalists.
Under the overall supervision and guidance of the Election Commission of India, Chief Electoral Officer, J&K and respective DEO encouraged all eligible voters to come forward and cast their votes responsibly. “Your vote is your voice, and it plays a pivotal role in determining the direction of governance and development in the region,” the CEO J&K said.
Union minister Jitendra Singh, who is eyeing a third term after winning the Udhampur seat for the BJP in 2014 and 2019, is up against Congress leader and former MP Choudhary Lal Singh and the DPAP’s G M Saroori, besides six independents.
Lal Singh and Saroori were among those who cast their votes at their respective polling stations in Kathua and Kishtwar and expressed confidence in winning the seat. Union Minister Jitendra Singh visited a polling station in Kathua to oversee the polling process. He expressed confidence in retaining the seat with a huge margin.
There are a total of 84,468 potential first-time voters, aged 18-19 years, of which 45,825 are men, 38,641 are women and two are third genders, the officials said.
They said the constituency also has a sizable elderly population, with 12,020 men and 13,612 women aged 80 and above, totalling 25,632 seasoned voters contributing to the electoral process.

114 special polling stations established in Udhampur PC

JAMMU: In a first of its kind move towards inclusivity and environmental consciousness, the Election Commission of India (ECI) established 114 remarkable polling stations of different categories for voters in Udhampur Parliamentary Constituency (PC) which went for polling today in the first phase of General Elections to Lok Sabha 2024.
These innovative polling stations viz; women manned, youth manned, PwD manned, Green Polling Stations, Border Polling Stations and Unique Polling Stations were designed to cater specifically to women, youth, Persons with Disabilities (PWD), promote eco-friendly practices and cater to voters of different kind in the region.
The polling stations were established under specific themes in all five districts of Udhampur Parliamentary Constituency which went for polls today. In Doda district, three Women manned, three PWD manned, two Youth manned, three Green and three unique polling stations were established. Similarly, in Kathua district, six Women manned, one PWD manned , six Youth manned, three Green, 31 Border and two unique polling stations were established for ease of voters.
Likewise, in Kishtwar, three Women manned, three PWD manned, three Youth manned, four Green and three unique polling stations were established.
In Ramban district, three Women manned, three PWD manned, two Youth manned, four Green and two unique polling stations were established. Similarly, in Udhampur, four Women, four PWD, four Youth manned, six Green and three unique polling stations were established.
The newly established polling stations aim to revolutionize the electoral process by ensuring accessibility and representation for all segments of society. With a special focus on women, youth, and PWD, these stations are equipped with amenities tailored to their unique needs, fostering an environment conducive to active participation in the democratic process.
Furthermore, the ECI’s commitment to environmental sustainability is showcased through the implementation of green practices at these polling stations. Every aspect is meticulously designed to minimize environmental impact and promote a greener future.
Speaking on this milestone initiative, Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Pandurang K Pole said that the establishment of these unique polling stations underscores our unwavering dedication to fostering inclusivity and sustainability in the electoral process.
He added that the ECI believes that every citizen should have equal access to exercise their democratic right, and these polling stations represent a significant step towards achieving that goal.


RO stands in queue to cast his vote in Kathua

Jammu: In an unusual scene, the returning officer of the Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency on Friday exercised his franchise after standing in a queue and waiting for his turn at a polling station in the Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir. Rakesh Minhas (34), who originally hails from Punjab, came to a polling station set up at the irrigation department in the Kathua town and exercised his franchise after waiting in a queue for his turn.
Rakesh Minhas and his wife Saloni Rai, both 2016 batch IAS officers, were deputed to Jammu and Kashmir from Daman and Diu in August 2022, and they were later posted as deputy commissioners of Kathua and Udhampur districts.
Polling is underway in the Udhampur parliamentary seat, spread across five districts of Udhampur, Kathua, Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban, which will seal the electoral fate of 12 contestants, including Union Minister Jitendra Singh, Congress candidate and two-time former MP Choudhary Lal Singh and DPAP candidate and former Jammu and Kashmir minister G M Saroori.
Later, Minhas showed his index finger marked with indelible ink and expressed his satisfaction over the trend of turnout in the constituency.
“We should not be careless about our democratic rights. Even if there is a queue, it takes only 15 to 20 minutes to cast your vote,” Minhas told reporters.
“My appeal to voters is to come out in large numbers and fulfil their democratic right. Voting started at 7 am and will continue till 7 pm,” he said, adding the inclement weather, especially in Kishtwar, in the morning had no impact on voting, which is going on smoothly.

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