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In Jammu and Kashmir, polling is underway for the first phase of the Urban Local Body’ elections.

The first phase involves the elections to 422 wards spread across all the three regions- Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Voting began at 7 this morning, will end at 4 pm. The state government has declared a holiday in the poll-bound areas today.

In Kashmir valley, people are voting in three wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation besides covering Municipal Committees of Kupwara, Handwara, Bandipora, Budgam, Baramulla, and Anantnag.  Municipal Committees of Kargil and Leh are also going to polls.

For the first time, electronic voting machines (EVMs) are being used in these local body polls. The fate of 1,283 candidates trying their luck from 247 wards in Jammu region, 149 in Kashmir Valley and 26 in Ladakh will be sealed in the EVMs.

Fool-proof security arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the polls. At a high-level meeting, Governor Satya Pal Malik reviewed the security situation. Nearly 40,000 additional security personnel have been deployed in 149 wards of Kashmir valley.

The last elections to the municipal bodies in the state were held in 2005 through secret ballots and the five-year term had expired in February 2010.

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