Around 76.9% of the registered voters turned up to vote during the sixth phase of the panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, ANI reported. The turnout was 84.6% in the Jammu division and 17.3% in Kashmir. While the overall turnout was the highest in all six phases so far, the turnout in Kashmir was the lowest, according to PTI.

Voting took place between 8 am and 2 pm at 3,174 polling stations – 410 in the Kashmir division and 2,764 in the Jammu division. Election officials had categorised 771 polling stations as hypersensitive. These include all the stations in Kashmir and 361 in the Jammu division.

The Central Reserve Police Force and police personnel were deployed at polling stations, Rising Kashmir reported. In this phase, 7,156 candidates were in the fray for 406 sarpanch and 2,277 panch seats. According to officials, 111 sarpanches and 1,048 panches won uncontested.

The panchayat elections are being conducted in nine phases and will conclude on December 11. The National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party have boycotted the polls over the lack of clarity about the Centre’s stand on Article 35A of the Constitution, which grants special rights and privileges to the state’s citizens. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is not contesting either. The three parties had not participated in last month’s urban local body polls as well.

The first phase on November 17 recorded a 74.1% voter turnout, including 64.5% in Kashmir division and 79.4% in Jammu. In the second phase three days later, 71.1% of voters exercised their franchise, with 80.4% polling recorded in Jammu and 52.2% in Kashmir.

The state witnessed a turnout of 75.2% in the third phase on November 24, including 55.7% in Kashmir and 83% in Jammu. In the fourth phase held on November 27, 71.3% of the electorate turned out to vote, including 82.4% in Jammu division and 32.3% in Kashmir division.

An overall turnout of 71.1% was registered in the fifth phase on November 29, with Kashmir division recording over 33.7% polling and more than 85.2% turnout in Jammu.