Re-polling in Srinagar LS seat witnesses lowest ever turnout of 2%

Re-polling in Srinagar LS seat witnesses lowest ever turnout of 2%
Re-polling in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency witnessed a new record of low turnout in the electoral history of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, with only over two per cent people exercising their franchise at 38-polling stations in Budgam district.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shantmanu said 709 out of 35,169 voters participated in the electoral process, which amounts to a poll percentage of 2.02%. He said polling concluded peacefully at all the 38 polling stations spread over five assembly segments of Budgam district.

However, despite abysmal low turnout, the polling by and large passed off peacefully. Officials said no vote was polled at 27 out of 38 polling stations during the re-poll.

Reports said a political activist was injured after workers of ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and Opposition National Conference clashed during polling in Badran village of Beerwah constituency in Budgam. The scuffle broke out between the two groups over some issue related to polling process in the village where re-poll is underway, reports added.

Witnesses said clashes erupted in Beerwah town in the evening after security forces started withdrawing at the end of re-poll. They said that youth threw stones on the withdrawing forces, triggering clashes, which were going on till late in the evening.

Authorities had made elaborate security arrangements in all the poll bound areas with additional police and paramilitary personnel deployed in strength around the polling booths. Witnesses said that restrictions had been placed on the movement of people around the polling booths to prevent any violence.

A police officer told Deccan Herald that keeping in view the Sunday’s experience, the two CRPF and one J&K Police companies were deployed at each polling station with at least one security bunker. “We didn’t want to take any chances this time as there were some chinks in security plan on Sunday which saw rampaging mobs over running polling booths,” he said.

The authorities also snapped broadband Internet services across the Kashmir without any prior notice for snapping the services. However, late in the evening State Police chief SP Vaid said that the Internet services would be restored across Kashmir tonight. While the broadband services were snapped early today morning, mobile Internet is suspended since the midnight of April 8.

Eight protesters were killed in security forces firing on Sunday on by-poll day in Budgam and Ganderbal districts of Srinagar Lok Sabha segment forcing Election Commission to defer the south Kashmir Anantnag Parliamentary seat by-poll to May 25. Voting in the constituency was otherwise scheduled for April 12.

The by-poll result for Srinagar constituency which saw 7.14% turnout on Sunday and 2.02% in re-poll on Thursday will be declared on April 15.

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