Civic polls: Kashmir sees dismal polling, Jammu brisk

Civic polls: Kashmir sees dismal polling, Jammu brisk

A security person stands guard as people wait in a long queue to cast their votes at a polling station during municipal elections in Bari Brahmana, about 25 kms from Jammu on Saturday. TI

The polling for the third phase of civic polls in Jammu and Kashmir ended peacefully on Saturday with most of the voters in the Valley staying away from polling booths, while brisk voting was witnessed in Jammu region.

J&K Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shaleen Kabra said the overall voting percentage in the third phase of the elections state was 16.4%. He said Kashmir division witnessed an average of 5.5% polling while Jammu recorded average of 81.4%.

A dismal 1.8% polling was recorded in Srinagar followed by 3.2% in Anantnag and whopping 75.3% in Baramulla district. Out of 153091 voters in Srinagar, only 2740 turned up at the polling booths. During the first two phases of polling in Srinagar, the voter turnout was mere 6.2% and 2.1% respectively.

The massive turn out in Jammu region and poor turnout in the Valley was a repeat of the trend seen in the first and second phases of the four-phased poll process. Earlier in the morning, the polling began amid heightened security and a shutdown call by separatists in poll-bound areas. The voting began at 6 am, an hour earlier than scheduled and ended at 4 pm.

Following dismal polling in Kashmir former chief minister and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah questioned Modi-led Central government’s decision to hold polls in the prevailing situation. “From the highest turnouts since 1987 in 2014 to the lowest turnouts ever recorded in 2018, why is the Modi government able to get away with its disastrous handling of Kashmir almost unquestioned?” he tweeted.

Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in a tweet asked New Delhi to pay heed to the message coming out from the “rejection” of the ongoing civic polls in Kashmir.

“Instead of going for cosmetic and coercive measures to continue the status quo, it’s time Govt of India pay heed to the clear message emanating from the rejection of these “elections” by the people. They want resolution of the dispute once for all &peace for them & ppl of South Asia,” he tweeted.