Low Turnout Marks First Leg Of Anantnag Polls

SRINAGAR — Continuing the trend of poor turnout recorded in the first two phases, the first leg of the three-phase polling for Anantnag Parliamentary constituency recorded 13.63% voting and the polling ended without major incident on Tuesday.  

The 2014 parliamentary elections had recorded 28 percent voter turnout in the entire constituency, while the 2009 elections saw 27 percent turnout.

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Addressing media persons here this evening,   Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) J&K, Shailendra Kumar said that the overall percentage recorded in the District during today’s polling was 13.63 with the highest in Pahalgam segment—20.37% 

Divulging segment wise details of the district, the CEO informed that the percentage of the total votes polled in Anantnag segment  was 3.47 per cent, Dooru, 17.28, Kokernag, 19.50, Shangus, 15.10, Bijbehara 2.04 and Pahalgam, 20.37 %.

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The ECI had setup 714 polling stations in the district. The ECI had also established 21 model polling stations, 12 all women model polling stations. 

The CEO said that the total percentage of voting till date in various parliamentary constituencies in the state including Baramulla, Jammu, Srinagar, Udhampur and Anantnag was recorded at 48.87 percent.

No militancy-related incident was reported from anywhere in the district, poll officials said.

After a slow start as polling centres opened at 7 a.m., voting picked up gradually on Tuesday in rural and hilly areas while it remained very low in urban centres.

Queues of voters were seen in Shangus, Kokernag, Dooru and Pahalgam where voters came out in good numbers. However, people only came out in ones and twos to cast their votes in towns like Anantnag and Bijbehara.

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Poll officials said barring a few incidents of stone pelting in Dialgam and Damhal (Kokernag) areas, voting in the six segments of Anantnag ended peacefully at 4 p.m.

Government forces used tear gas to disperse stone pelters who tried to dissuade voters from reaching polling stations.

The Anantnag constituency sprawls over four volatile south Kashmir districts: Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama — the last of them the site of February’s attack on a CRPF convoy that ratcheted India-Pakistan tensions.

Anantnag elected Mehbooba Mufti in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and was seen as a stronghold of her People’s Democratic Party until it joined hands with the BJP to form the government in 2015.

Mehbooba vacated her parliamentary seat when she became chief minister following the death of her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, in early 2016. No by-election could be held for the seat after that because of the security situation.

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By-elections had been scheduled in Anantnag in May 2017 but were deferred after unprecedented poll violence in Srinagar left nine people dead and scores injured. The turnout was an abysmal 7 per cent.

The number of people eligible to vote in Lok Sabha polls for Anantnag district stood at 5,29,256 including 269603 males, 257540 females, 2102 service electors (2091 male and 11 female) and 11 transgender voters.  For smooth polling, the ECI had setup 714 polling stations in the district.

There are 18 candidates in the fray for Anantnag constituency including PDP president and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti. 

The Congress has fielded its state president Ghulam Ahmad Mir while former High Court judge Hasnain Masoodi is contesting on the National Conference ticket. 

A 57-year-old lawyer Shams Khwaja, hailing from Gautam Budh Nagar of Uttar Pradesh is also in contest from the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat which goes to polls district-wise in three phases on April 23, 29 and May 6 due to security concerns.  

The other candidates in the fray are Sofi Yousuf of Bhartiya Janta Party, Nisar Ahmad Wani of Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers Party, Ch. Zaffar Ali of Jammu Kashmir People’s Conference, Sanjay Kumar Dhar of Manav Adhikar Party, Surinder Singh of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) and Imtiyaz Ahmad Rather, Ridwana Sanam, Riyaz Ahmad Bhat, Zubair Masoodi, Ali Mohammad Wani, Gh Mohammad Wani, Kyasir Ahmed Sheikh, Manzoor Ahmad Khan and Mirza Sajad Hussain Beigh, all independents.

 

 

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