49 pc voter turnout in J&K

Battle for states: People throng poll booths defying boycott and braving winter

49 pc voter turnout in J&K

Voting ended peacefully for the penultimate phase of the five phased Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.

An overall 49 per cent voters turnout was recorded across 18 constituencies spread over four districts of the state amid tight security and a poll boycott call by separatists.

While Vijaypur Assembly segment in Samba district of Jammu recorded highest of 81.31 per cent polling Habba Kadal constituency in Srinagar witnessed lowest turnout of 21.01 per cent.

The overall percentage is nine per cent less than the third phase that recorded 58 per cent polling on December 9 and 22 per cent less than the second phase that recorded 71 per cent on December 2.

Addressing a press conference here, J&K’s Chief Electoral Officer Umang Narula said overall 49 per cent polling was recorded in all constituencies which concluded peacefully.

Giving district-wise polling break-up, he said eight constituencies of Srinagar district recorded overall 28 per cent turnout, followed by 47. 36 per cent in two constituencies of Shopian district, 59.53 per cent in six constituencies of Anantnag district and 79.15 in two constituencies of Samba district.

Sonwar Assembly segment in Srinagar from where Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is contesting recorded the highest percentage of polling among eight city constituencies with 44.17 per cent voters exercising their franchise. Omar was also in fray from Beerwah seat, in central Kashmir's Budgam district, which went to polls in the third phase.

The fate of 182 candidates including Omar, PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (Anantnag) and others were sealed in Sunday’s polling.

According to official figures, 14.73 lakh voters including 7.67 lakh men and 7.06 lakh women were eligible to cast votes.

Reports said polling was peaceful except a few minor incidents of stone throwing incidents and clashes between workers of rival political parties.

Despite severe cold, long queues of voters were seen outside polling stations to exercise their franchise, reports added.

Narula said elaborate arrangements were made to facilitate for voters to exercise their franchise in a free and fair atmosphere, adding that the polling percentage may increase after consolidation of figures.

Sources told Deccan Herald that Jammu and Kashmir police had formed “anti-mobile voter squads” in eight constituencies of Srinagar to keep a check on bogus voting. In the past there have been complaints of mobile voting in the city.

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