Baramulla/Rajouri/Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir), Nov 27 (ANI): Polling for the fourth phase of panchayat elections begun in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday. Despite news of encounters in Pulwama and Kulgam districts, people came out to vote. Polling began in the district at 8 am today. The Election Commission has set up nine polling booths in the region, where locals started to trickle after voting commenced. The terror-infested district, which is spread across 1,398 kilometres, falls under the Anantnag parliamentary constituency. Voting is also being held in Baramulla, another region that is a hotbed of terror activities. Voters were seen queuing up in large numbers outside a polling station in Noorkhan Bijhama to exercise their franchise. As per the Election Commission of India, after withdrawal and scrutiny, more than 5400 candidates are in the fray for 339 Sarpanch and 1749 Panch seats. Ninety-nine Sarpanchs and 969 Panchs have been elected unopposed in the fourth phase of voting. This is the first time in the fourth phase that as many as 17 districts out of 22 have gone for elections in a single phase. The previous three phases were confined to only 14 to 15 districts. Security has been tightened across the state so that the elections can be conducted in a peaceful manner. Majority of the candidates have been provided with security.
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