Jammu: Despite threat from militants, the first phase of panchayat polls conducted in eight blocks of eight districts of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday witnessed a 78 percent turnout. The state panchayat elections, which are scheduled in 16 phases, are being held on a non-political basis after a span of ten years.

The first phase which witnessed voting for 218 Sarpanchs and 2188 Panch passed peacefully in the state. In the first phase, which would decide the fate of altogether 3,500 candidates, three Sarpanch and 212 Panch have been declared elected uncontested.

While 75 percent turnout was registered in five blocks in the five districts of Kashmir, three blocks in three districts of Jammu region recorded 81 percent turnout. Bishnah, Samba, Udhampur, Kupwara, Gandebal of Jammu region recorded turnout of 80, 82, 80.89, 86.2 and 77.87 percent respectively. Two blocks in Kulgam and Anantnag districts witnessed 69 percent turnout.

Chief Electoral Officer BR Sharma said, “Perfect security arrangements have been made for voting.”

The second phase of polling will be held on April 17, in which people of Uhampur’s Chanaini, Samba’s Vijaypur, Jammu’s Aaraspura, Kupwara’s Babura, Barahmulla’s Udhi, Gandharbal’s Laar, Badgaam’s Nagaam and Kugaam’s Pahlu will caste their vote.