Voters' spirit prevails over militant attacks

Round 3: Polling peaceful except for failed bid to hurl petrol bomb

Voters' spirit prevails over militant attacks

Despite the deadly militant attacks in recent times, 58 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the third phase Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

The polling took place just four days after a serial attacks left 21 people, including 11 security persons, dead across the state.

Barring stray incidents of violence, voting ended peacefully in all the 16 Assembly constituencies that went to the polls to decide the fate of 144 candidates including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

Though the turnout in this phase was less compared to the first two phases which recorded over 70 per cent polling, it was nine per cent higher than that recorded in 2008 Assembly polls. Reports said owing to cold weather and foggy conditions, voting at several places started on a dull note. However, as the day progressed and the sun peeped out, more voters thronged the polling booths.

Voting took place in three districts — Budgam, Pulwama and Baramulla — where security arrangements was strengthened in the backdrop of the serial attacks on Friday.

Police said a petrol bomb was hurled by unidentified persons at a polling station in Gulmarg constituency of Baramulla district. However, no casualties were reported in the incident. Barring this incident, polling went was going on peacefully.

Giving the breakup of polling, J&K Chief Electoral officer Umang Narula said overall 58 per cent polling was recorded with Charar-e-Sharief in central Kashmir’s Budgam district recording the highest 82.74 per cent. Sopore constituency- the home town of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani and bastion of militancy, saw the lowest 30 per cent polling, he said.

The CEO said elaborate security and other arrangements were made to facilitate voters to exercise their franchise in a free and fair atmosphere. “The polling percentage may increase after consolidation of figures,” Narula told reporters.

He said out of 441 migrant Kashmiri Pandit voters, 57 percent cast their votes in Tuesday’s polling. Pertinently 62.5 per cent and 58.56 per cent migrant voters had cast their votes in first and second phases of polling respectively.

Voting has been completed in 49 of the 87 Assembly constituencies with rest of the 38 constituencies going to polls in fourth and fifth phases on December 14 and 20.
DH News Service

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