Voting for the first phase of Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir began this morning amidst tight security. Polling is taking place in seven districts of Jammu division, six in Kashmir Valley and two in Ladakh. The polls are being conducted on the non-party basis. 427 candidates are in the fray for 536 Sarpanch Halqas and 5,951 candidates for 4,048 Panch wards in the first phase.
Polling, which began at 8 am, will end till 2 PM. Counting of votes will be taken up immediately after the polling is completed.
Security has been beefed up and forces are deployed in strength in poll-bound areas.
State's Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra had announced nine-phase polling for Panchayat elections in the state. Last Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir were held in 2011.
Elections to the local urban bodies were completed in four phases recently and the results were announced on the 20th of last month.