Moderate voting in J&K despite separatists’ boycott call

Moderate voting in J&K despite separatists’ boycott call
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First Published: Thu, May 07 2009. 02 52 PM IST
Updated: Thu, May 07 2009. 02 52 PM IST
Srinagar: In a rebuff to separatists, moderate polling was on Thursday witnessed in most of parts of the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, with 10% of the 11 lakh electorate exercising their franchise till noon.
Chrar-e-Sharief assembly segment of Budgam district registered the highest 25.21% of polling, while Habbakadal segment of Srinagar district, a stronghold of Hurriyat and other separatists who had called for a poll boycott, recorded the lowest turnout of 0.80%, election officials said.
Ahead of the commencement of polling amid tight security, a petrol bomb was hurled at a polling booth set up inside a private school on the outskirts of Srinagar city that exploded in its compound. No one was hurt in the incident.
Polling started on a dull note at 7am despite the sun breaking a four-day spell of cloudy weather, but long queues started building up outside the booths as the day progressed.
Kangan assembly segment in Ganderbal district also recorded heavy polling with 25% of voters casting their ballots followed by Ganderbal (16), Budgam (12.04), Khansahib (11), Beerwah (8.00), Chadoora (7.79), Batmaloo (7.50), Zadibal (5.80), Sonawar (5.27), Hazratbal (5.20), Idgah (4.00), Amirakadal (2.32) and Khanyar (2.20).
In Sringar city, where only 21.93% of the electorate cast their votes in the last assembly elections against the state average of 65%, voting was dull with just one vote being cast at three polling booths in Kothibagh in the heart of the city.
Today’s polling will seal the fate of 15 candidates including the National Conference president Farooq Abdullah.
The total strength of voters in the three booths of Kothibagh 4, 5 and 11 are 1500 but only one voter polled his vote at the polling booth number 5, officials told reporters.
However, the situation was entirely different in the polling booths in Kangan, Ganderbal, Chrar-e-sharief, Beerwah, Budgam, Khansahib, Chadoora and Batmaloo assembly segments, where polling was from moderate to brisk.
At 36-Naranagh in Kangan assembly segment, 40 kms from here, over 44% voters had cast their ballot in only two hours of polling. Of the total 387 votes, 171 had been polled in first two hours. Similarly, in 23-Satrina polling station, 41.01% votes had been polled till 9am.
In many other polling stations, a good voter turnout has been recorded. In 51-Manigam-A, 36.63% voters cast their ballot, 50-A-Anderwan-A 33.56, 51-A-Manigam-A 28.99, 11-Sufraw-B recording 28.25%, 15-Mameer-A 22.61 and , 48-Haripora-A 22.56 by 9am, poll officials said.
Polling is also being held simultaneously in Sonawar Assembly constituency of Srinagar. The bypoll was necessitated following the resignation of NC president Farooq Abdullah who was elected to Rajya Sabha. Three candidates are in the fray.
A tight security ring has been thrown around 1,483 polling stations including 665 hyper-sensitive booths set up across the constituency in the wake of boycott call given by separatists and militant outfits.
Today’s polling will complete the election process in four out of the six Lok Sabha seats in the state. Voting has been completed in Jammu, Udhampur and Anantnag constituencies on 16 April, 23 and 30 while Baramulla and Ladakh Lok Sabha seats are slated to go to polls on 13 May.
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First Published: Thu, May 07 2009. 02 52 PM IST