Re-poll Turnout Plunges To 2%

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Srinagar: Voter turnout plunged to an all-time low of two percent in the re-poll conducted at 38 polling stations on Thursday in Srinagar parliamentary constituency amid unprecedented security arrangements following a boycott call given by separatists.

According to officials, the turnout is the lowest in the state’s history.

Re-polling had been ordered at these polling stations by the Election Commission of India following embarrassingly low voter turn out of little over 7 percent and large-scale violence during Sunday’s polls for the prestigious seat. The by-poll result will be declared on April 15.

7.1 per cent voters exercised their franchise out of nearly 1.3 million electorate on April 9 in the constituency spread over 15 assembly segments in three districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal.

The ECI has announced that counting of votes would be held as per schedule on April 15 despite deferring Anantnag polls.

Although the election was violence free, barring few incidents of stone pelting, an abysmal 709 votes were cast out of 35,169 putting the poll percentage at 2.01 per cent,” an official told Kashmir Observer.

The re-polling began at 0700 and was concluded at 1600 hrs, he said.

At majority of the polling stations no one turned up to vote, reports said.

National Conference president and three time chief minister Farooq Abdullah is contesting against ruling PDP’s Nazir Ahmad Khan.

Dr Farooq had lost the prestigious Srinagar constituency in 2014, which had officially recorded 26% polling then.

Barring a stone pelting incident at Soibagh area in Budgam district, the situation was peaceful in the areas where the polling was held, the officials said. People by and large voluntarily stayed away from the electoral exercise, they said.

There was an altercation between opposition National Congress and ruling PDP workers at Badran in Beerwah area over allegations of bogus voting, the officials said.

The issue was later resolved with the intervention of the polling staff and security personnel posted on duty there.

Eight people were killed in firing by security forces as election-day violence marred the bypoll for Srinagar on Sunday.

Meanwhile, life came to a grinding halt as business and other activities were crippled and traffic was off the roads due to strike called by separatists today in Budgam. Even though separatists had called for strike only in election bound areas in the district, shops and business establishments were closed and traffic was off the roads in entire district. However, very few private vehicles could be seen plying on some interior routes.

Authorities had imposed restrictions under Section 144 CrPC in Budgam district.

REPOLL

Former Chief Minister and working president of opposition National Conference (NC) Omar Abdullah questioned holding of re-poll in these polling stations when bypoll in Anantnag constituency on April 12 was deferred despite protests by opposition.

According to District Magistrate Budgam restrictions under Section-144 shall remain in force in the district today, except for those areas where re-poll will be held.

Hundreds of security forces have been deployed in the district, particularly in the areas where re-poll will be held to maintain law and order.

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