Below 3% voting turnout in Shopian, Pulwama

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WAHID BHAT  |SRINAGAR |

Peaceful voting marked the fifth phase of polling for Anantnag and Ladakh Parliamentary constituencies (PCs) in Kashmir and Ladakh divisions of the State. An overall turnout of 18.02 percent was recorded in Pulwama and Shopian districts of Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency and Kargil and Leh districts of Ladakh Parliamentary Constituency, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) J&K, Shailendra Kumar informed in a press conference here today.

The CEO informed that in today’s voting Pampore assembly segment recorded the highest polling of 5.26 percent while as lowest percentage of 0.76 was recorded in Pulwama segment of Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency. He said that for smooth polling 695 polling stations were set up across Pulwama and Shopian districts, out of which 20 were Model Polling Stations and two were All Women Polling Stations.

Similarly for Ladakh PC, 559 Polling stations were established including 21 Model Polling Stations and 57 All Women Polling Stations.

Divulging the details of the voter turnout in Pulwama and Shopian districts, the CEO informed that the total number of votes polled was 14,6,76. With the completion of the today’s phase, the overall poll percentage of Anantnag constituency has touched 8.76 percent. Similarly in Ladakh PC, the overall poll percentage has touched 63.70 per cent.

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With the completion of all five phases of polling today the total percentage of voting in various parliamentary constituencies in the state including Baramulla, Jammu, Srinagar, Udhampur, Anantnag and Ladakh was recorded at 44.51%.

It may be recalled that over 5.22 lakh electors were scheduled to exercise their franchise in Pulwama and Shopian districts of south Kashmir, in the third leg of three-phased schedule for Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency.  The number of registered voters in Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh Parliamentary Constituency was 1,73,7,09.

The CEO complimented voters, political parties, contesting candidates, media, polling staff and security forces for smooth and peaceful conduct of polling under all the five Phases in the state.

It may be recalled that 18 candidates including Hasnain Masoodi (NC), Sofi Yousuf (BJP), Ghulam Ahmad Mir (INC), Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), Nisar Ahmad Wani (NPP), Choudhary Zaffar Ali (PC), Sanjay Kumar Dhar (Manav Adhikar Party), Surinder Singh (Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia)) and Imtiyaz Ahmad Rather, Ridwana Sanam, Riyaz Ahmad Bhat, Zubair Masoodi, Shams Khwaja, Ali Mohammad Wani, Gh Mohammad Wani, Kyasir Ahmed Sheikh, Manzoor Ahmad Khan and Mirza Sajad Hussain Beigh, all independents, are in the fray for Anantnag Parliamentary constituency.

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Similarly for Ladakh Parliamentary Constituency four candidates including Rigzin Spalbar (INC), Jamyang Tsering Namgyal (BJP), Asgar Ali Karbalai and Sajjad Hussain, both independents are contesting the elections.

Kumar said the election was largely peaceful, with two incidents of grenade attacks at polling stations in the terrorism-infested south Kashmir districts, but no one was hurt in these attacks.

“The grenade at Rohmoo landed and exploded inside the premises, but there was no damage. The other one at Tiki did not explode,” he added.

The election in Anantnag seat was divided into three phases. Anantnag district had voted on April 23 that saw a turnout of 13.6 per cent. This was followed by the second phase in Kulgam on April 29, which recorded 10.3 per cent voting.

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The official said the voter turnout in Ladakh was 63.70 per cent and could go up as reports from 15 polling stations, where no communication system existed, were awaited.

Giving constituency-wise details, he said Jammu seat recorded the highest turnout of 72.16 per cent, followed by Udhampur (70.2), Ladakh (63.7), Baramulla (34.9), Srinagar (14.27) and Anantnag (8.76).

On the Congress’ demand for a re-election at two polling stations following violence there, Kumar said his office had received the application, but no malpractice was reported.

“Polling agents of two parties exchanged blows outside the polling station. ARO, zonal magistrate and sectoral magistrate visited the areas and did not find any malpractice,” he added.

Kumar said as many as 101 polling staff had to be airlifted to the polling stations — 39 in Anantnag seat and 62 in Ladakh seat. He, however, dismissed suggestions that airlifting in south Kashmir was done due to security reasons.