Election commissioner of Jammu and Kashmir KK Sharma, on Monday, said that the counting of votes will begin at 9 am and will take place in district headquarters. Counting staff for the exercise, Sharma said, will be deployed after “randomization.” The counting of votes for the eight-phase state’s District Development Council (DDC), is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
“All counting will be done in District HQs. Responsibility for counting is given to returning officers of the constituencies. Counting staff will be deployed after randomization. Counting will begin at 9 am tomorrow,” Sharma told the media.
The polling for the eight-phase election started on November 28, followed by polling on December 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, and, finally, on December 19. A total of 2,178 candidates tried their luck in the fray for 280 DDC seats in these elections.
After the abrogation of Article 370, which led to the scrapping of the special status of the then unified state of Jammu and Kashmir, the DDC elections was the first electoral exercise in the region. The state was further divided into two separate Union territories (UTs) of Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The move was strongly condemned by the leaders of the state, including the three former chief ministers-Farooq and Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti-were put under house arrest to prevent the law and order situation from spiraling out of control. While Mufti was freed only in October, the Abdullahs was released in March earlier this year.
The district-level polls witnessed a fierce fight between the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an umbrella of six political parties-including the Abdullahs’ National Conference (NC) and Mufti’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)-whose one common agenda is the restoration of Article 370.