Kashmir Elections: 3.5% Vote in 3rd Phase

SRINAGAR — Like first two rounds, the penultimate phase of the 4-phased elections to Urban Local Bodies witnessed a very low turnout of 3.5% in Kashmir Valley with Srinagar recording a meager 1.8% voting on Saturday.

According to Chief Electoral Officer, while Srinagar saw 1.8% voting from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Anantnag witnessed a turnout of 3.2 percent, Uri area of Baramulla district saw 75.3 per cent voting while Samba district in Jammu recorded 81.4 percent polling.

In all three phases, so far, the voter turnout in Kashmir division was only 6.7% while in Jammu, the overall percentage recorded is 68.4%.  

365 candidates were in fray in the penultimate of the four-phased elections which began on October 8 and end on October 16.

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In the first two phases polls, a majority of people stayed away from polling booths in Kashmir Valley for where the turnout was at 8.3 per cent only in first phase while phase-II witnessed meager 3.4 percent voting.

Polling in both the phases was by and large peaceful in the four-phase election to urban local bodies, which has been boycotted by two main regional parties – the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Of the 44 wards which went to polls on Saturday, 20 fell in Srinagar city’s downtown area, where the voter turnout has been generally low since the eruption of militancy in the state in 1989.

In a ward Safakadal area in the city’s old town, and Chanapora, in the civil lines, less than 10 votes each were cast.

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The polling also saw 11 Srinagar Municipal Corporation wards recording less than 100 votes, and at the end of the day only 2,827 of the over 1.53 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the polls.   

Safakadal, which has a total electorate of 9,062, saw two voters turning out in the first hour of the polling and an addition of one more in the last hour taking the total number of votes polled to three.  There was minor incident of stone pelting in this area and police had to use mild force to disperse the unruly mob, officials said.

Chanapora, which has an electorate of 10,000, had polled only two votes till 1 pm with an addition of only six more votes to end with a tally of eight by the close of polling.

The posh Rajbagh area of the city saw only 19 voters turning up at the polling stations to register their choice of candidate while as nearby Ikhrajpora polled a much higher tally of 149 votes. The historic Lal Chowk, which has an electoral strength 5,827, saw only 71 voters exercise their franchise during the day.

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Daulatabad and Makhdoom Sahib in the old city, which fall in the Khanyar assembly segment represented by National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, saw a comparatively ‘good’ turnout. 

Daulatabad registered 596 out of the total 8,431 eligible votes while Makhdoom Sahib — which houses the revered shrine of Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom — saw 550 of the 6,132 eligible votes getting cast.

As many as 36 voters turned out to cast their votes at Hyderpora ward, where hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani lives.

The wards in downtown city were polls took place are Khanqah-e-Mualla, Maharajgunj, Jamia Masjid, Makhdoom Sahib, Khwaja Bazaar, Aqilmir Khanyar, Rozabal, Daulatabad, Islamyarbal, Nawab Bazaar, Nawa Kadal, Safakadal, Rathpora, Edigah, Palpora and Tarabal.

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Ten other wards in the civil lines area of the city, where polling was held included Lal Chowk, Rajbagh, Ikhrajpora, Mehjoor Nagar, Natipora, Chanapora, Budshah Nagar, Baghat Barzulla, Hyderpora and Rawalpora.

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), J&K, Shaleen Kabra said 365 candidates were in the fray for 96 wards of 8 Urban Local Bodies.

The Municipal Elections are being held in four phases, covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh electors. A total of 3372 nominations have been filed for 1145 wards.

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