Nearly 7 lakh voters are eligible to casting their ballot to decide the fates of 296 candidates in the fray for 43 constituencies going to polls on Saturday for the first-ever district council elections in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of special status granted to the erstwhile state under Article 370.

The elections to fill up vacant seats of 1,088 sarpanchs and over 12,000 panch positions and Urban Local Bodies are also being held simultaneously. Forty-three sarpanch and 368 panch constituencies are going to the polls in the first phase on Saturday, according to The Indian Express.

In the Jammu division, 124 candidates, including 30 women, are contesting in 18 seats. In Kashmir, 172 candidates are contesting for 25 seats. There are 59 women candidates in the Valley.

Voting will conclude on December 19 and the counting of votes will be held on December 22. The results of panchayat bye-elections will be declared on the polling day itself.

Jammu and Kashmir Election Commissioner KK Sharma has said that polling will take place through Electronic Voting Machines, while postal ballots will be available for Covid-19 patients in isolation, senior citizens and physically unwell patients. West Pakistan Refugees, who are Indian citizens and are eligible to vote in Parliamentary elections, will also be entitled...

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