Srinagar records lowest turnout in 30 yrs

Srinagar records lowest turnout in 30 yrs

Srinagar records lowest turnout in 30 yrs

The voter turnout on Sunday for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat plunged to a low of 7.14%, the worst figure in nearly 30 years of the electoral history of Jammu and Kashmir.

Worse after 1989

In the 1989 Lok Sabha polls, when the insurgency in Kashmir had just begun, polling of 5% was recorded as militants had threatened to kill anyone exercising their franchise.

The situation was so bad that only National Conference candidate Muhammad Shafi Bhat had filed the nomination. Bhat was the last person in India’s electoral history to be elected unopposed to the Lok Sabha.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu, while talking about the polling turnout, said that Sunday was “not a good day.”

In the 1996 Lok Sabha polls, when elections were held in the state after a hiatus of seven years, the authorities claimed  that 43% polling had taken place. However, the claims remained questionable given the situation prevailing in Kashmir at that time.

Separatism factor

A political expert, talking about the reason for such a turnout said, “The separatism and the election boycott call are among the major factors responsible for the low voter turnout during the Parliament polls. Besides, people don’t relate themselves with Parliament elections but in assembly elections they come out to vote for redressal of governance-related grievances.”