A candidate contesting an election for the post of sarpanch in the Takia Behram Shah panchayat in South Kashmir was elected by the sole vote cast – his own – in the second phase of panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

Around 2 pm, after the polling time ended, election officials announced that Gul Muhamad Najar had been elected sarpanch in Takia Behram Shah as nobody else had turned up to vote in the panchayat polls in the constituency, Greater Kashmir reported.

An election official said that the constituency had 1,300 voters, but only Najar turned up to cast his ballot. “One candidate turned up to the polling booth, cast his vote to himself, was declared Sarpach and left,” another official said as his colleagues laughed.

People in the area reportedly did not even know the name of the other candidate. “Even we don’t know who filed nominations,” Mohammad Arif, a villager, told Greater Kashmir.

In Kamad panchayat, only one of the two candidates – Muhamad Yaqoob Shah – voted, and nobody else voted for either of them. Shah was duly elected sarpanch.

In Monghal Panch constituency, only the two candidates cast their votes and the rest of the electorate remained absent. Since the candidates voted for themselves, the tie had to be resolved through a draw of lots, an election official said. Subsequently, one of them, Sajad Shah, was declared the winner.

The elections

The second phase of panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday recorded a voter turnout of 71.1%. “An overwhelming 80.4% polling was witnessed in Jammu division and 52.2% in Kashmir division,” said Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra.

Udhampur district in Jammu recorded the highest turnout of 83.9%, while Anantnag district in South Kashmir recorded the lowest at 1%.

In the first phase held on November 17, around 75% voters had participated. Seven more phases will be held until December 11.