Srinagar: As counting of votes began at 9 am, the fate of around 2,200 candidates in the fray for the 280 District Development Council (DDC) seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be decided today.

According to latest trends, BJP is leading in 9 seats, followed by National Conference (8) and JKAP (4), PDP and Congress, which are leading in 3 seats each. The CPI (M, PP and PC are leading in one seat while others have led in four seats.

51.42% of the 57 lakh eligible voters exercised their franchise in the elections, which were largely peaceful.

State Election Commissioner KK Sharma has directed the deputy commissioners that COVID-19 protocols must be observed through mandatory masks and hand sanitiser at each table, besides all the counting staff and other officials should compulsorily wear masks before entering the counting halls. He had reviewed the preparedness at counting booths across the Union Territory on Sunday.

The polling was held over eight phases beginning November 28 and ending on December 19 and is of great significance as it is the first major electoral exercise in the Valley since the abrogation of Article 370.