54% polling in first phase of LS elections in J&K

54% polling in first phase of LS elections in J&K

The polling began at 7 am in Baramulla Lok Sabha seat in north Kashmir and Jammu seat and would end at 6 pm. DH Photo.

Polling in Jammu and Baramulla Lok Sabha seats of Jammu and Kashmir ended on Thursday amid stray incidents of violence, some incidents of electronic voting machine (EVM) malfunction and alleged misconduct by a security man at a polling station.

Amid boycott call by the separatists, militant threats and unprecedented security arrangements, 54% polling was recorded till 5:00 pm in the first phase of five-phase Lok Sabha elections. Poll officials said the final voting figures in both the constituencies were being compiled and would be announced by Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Shailendra Kumar at a press conference in Jammu later.

The Jammu district recorded 69.7 percent voter turnout, Samba 73.8%, Rajouri 65.7% and Poonch 68% till 5 pm, the officials said. Baramulla recorded 22.3% turnout, Kupwara 47.7% and Bandipora 30.1%.

MUST READ: Lok Sabha Elections 2019 LIVE: TDP and YSRCP workers clash in booth

33,17,882 persons were eligible to exercise their right to franchise in the two parliamentary segments. Of these, 13,12,148 voters are in Baramulla-Kupwara segment and 20,05,734 in Jammu-Poonch segment. 4489 polling stations had been set up to facilitate electorate to cast their votes. 

Contrary to fears that there could be violence during the poll process in Baramulla constituency, voting ended peacefully with voters coming out in large or small numbers at different places as they wished. Authorities had made elaborate arrangements for holding violence-free polls.

When by-polls to Srinagar LS seat were held in April 2017, it left a trail of nine deaths and a record low voter turnout of 7%, equalling the dismal voting trends during the peak militancy period.

While separatist groups had asked people to boycott the polls in line with their three-decade-old anti-election policy, Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir based United Jihad Council (UJC) has issued a strong warning to those participating in the polls, asking them to stay away from the poll exercise.

The polls are being held at a time when the State is under President’s rule after the fall of Mehbooba Mufti-led government following withdrawal of support to it by the BJP in June 2018.