NEW DELHI :
As the country polled in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections on Thursday, Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar recorded a dismal 13% voter turnout, with the valley polling under a heavy blanket of security cover.
While polling is being conducted in five phases in Jammu and Kashmir, which has six Lok Sabha seats, Srinagar and Udhampur cast their votes on Thursday in the second phase.
The poor turnout, a senior leader in the state added, was not astonishing, given the current climate in the valley.
“The people have been stifled, voices of democracy have been silenced and even the separatists have been jailed or put under house arrest to prevent any kind of disruption. To add to that, people have inertia to even go to polling booths, after going through intensive security checks, to cast their vote," said the leader, not wishing to be identified.
Analysts added that it was utter disillusionment among the people that had led to the poor turnout.
Today, the leadership has nothing to sell to the electorate. Political parties come to power in Jammu and Kashmir because the people have no choice. They are not happy with either the PDP or the NC. The bottomline is – political parties have lost ground," said Nisar Ali, former dean of faculty of social sciences at Kashmir University and member of the J&K finance commission.
In Srinagar, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah is up against the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Aga Syed Mohsin, Irfan Ansari of the People’s Conference and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Sheikh Khalid Jehangir.
On the other end of the spectrum, Udhampur recorded a voter turnout of 66.76%, with BJP and Congress heavyweights Jitendra Singh and Vikramaditya Singh up against each other, respectively.
The Srinagar and Udhampur constituencies covered the districts of Ganderbal, Srinagar and Budgam in Srinagar and Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Reasi, Udhampur and Kathua in Udhampur in the Jammu sector.
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