Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is off to a good polling season. Braving militants, boycotts and bad weather, the state saw a good turnout by its standards in the first of the five-phase polling rollout.
On Tuesday, it was more of bad weather than guns that were defied by voters. Of the 15 constituencies that polled, four are in the sparsely populated and quiescent districts of Leh and Ladakh region.
What was encouraging was the excellent turnout in even so-called disturbed constituencies such as Bandipora and Sonawari.
The real challenge lies in the third and fourth phases when the maximally troubled parts of J&K vote. But what cannot be denied—from voting trends in the past election and early indicators today—is that citizens there want a credible government in spite of what secessionists in the state say. The challenge for the Union government is keep politics functional in J&K and not let separatists derail it.