Though the overall poll percentage in south Kashmir’s Anantnag parliamentary constituency has improved slightly compared to the 2009 elections, it stands way below the national average.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Umang Narula said around 28 per cent of the total electorate cast their vote in Thursday’s polling, less than half of the national average.
In the 2009 elections, the overall percentage was nearly 27 per cent while in 2004 the percentage was a mere 15.2. The percentage was just 14.32 in the 1999 elections.
This time, Anantnag and Kulgam districts of the constituency saw 37.76 and 36.68 per cent polling, respectively. Shopian and Pulwama districts registered low turnouts of 20.43 per cent and 6.32 per cent, respectively.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party blamed the National Conference-led government for creating a fear psychosis in Shopian and Pulwama districts resulting in the low turnout.
“It was a deliberate attempt by NC and its supporters to create fear among the people as PDP had no opposition in these two districts. In 2008, despite the Amarnath land row, people came out in large numbers in these districts to vote in favour of PDP,” Naeem Akhter, PDP chief spokesperson told Deccan Herald.
He alleged that the NC government allowed good percentage of voting only in those areas which are its strongholds.
“Whole country should share this worry with us (PDP) as alienation of people created by the NC is responsible for low percentage of polling,” Akhtar added.
Asked whether he would call it a ‘tactical rigging’ by the NC, the PDP chief spokesperson said, “Yes, technically we can’t say they rigged the election, but tactically they did so.”