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Business News/ Politics / Kashmir News: After Srinagar's highest voter turnout, will Baramulla break the 1996 record in phase 5 polling today?

Kashmir News: After Srinagar's highest voter turnout, will Baramulla break the 1996 record in phase 5 polling today?

Omar Abdullah and Sajad Lone are the main contenders, along with Engineer Rashid and Fayaz Ahmad Mir. Baramulla is expected to surpass the 1996 voter turnout record. In the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, Baramulla saw 47 percent voting, the highest in about three decades.

Lok Sabha Election 2024: After Srinagar's highest voter turnout, will Baramulla break the 1996 record in phase 5 polling today? (ECI)Premium
Lok Sabha Election 2024: After Srinagar's highest voter turnout, will Baramulla break the 1996 record in phase 5 polling today? (ECI)

The Baramulla parliamentary constituency of Jammu and Kashmir is one of the 49 seats voting in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha Elections 2024 today, May 20. 

The constituency in north Kashmir is one of the three seats in the Kashmir division J&K—other than Srinagar and Anantnag-Rajouri—where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not fielded any candidates. The seat comprises assembly segments in the Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, and Budgam districts. 

Follow all Live Updates on Phase 5 Polling here

Former J&K chief minister and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah and Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC) chief Sajad Lone are the main contenders for the seat. Independent candidate Abdul Rashid Sheikh, popularly known as Engineer Rashid, is also in the fray, along with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Fayaz Ahmad Mir.

Also Read: Engineer Rashid, jailed under UAPA, electrifies phase 5 Lok Sabha contest in Baramulla today

Srinagar voted in the fourth phase of polling on May 13, and Anantnag-Rajouri will go to the polls in the sixth phase on May 25. Srinagar recorded a record 38 per cent voter turnout during polling on May 13. This was the highest voting per centage in the constituency since the 1996 general elections, when 41 per cent of voters exercised their franchise.

Will Baramulla cross 50% turnout?

After Srinagar's record, all eyes are on the two seats – Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri. Past election records show that both these seats have registered higher voter turnout than the predominantly urban Srinagar seats. 

The seat recorded 54 per cent turnout till 5 pm on Monday, the Election Commission of India said. 

In 2009, the Baramulla seat recorded a 41 per cent turnout, while Srinagar recorded a 25.55 per cent turnout. In the 2014 elections, Baramulla recorded 39 percent turnout, compared to 25.86 per cent in Srinagar. In the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections,  Baramulla saw a slight dip in the voter turnout at 35 per cent, and Srinagar had a turnout of 14.43 percent.  

Also Read: Lok Sabha Election 2024: What does Srinagar’s record voter turnout tell us about J&K's Article 370 scraping?

In a departure from earlier elections, the Lok Sabha polls 2024 are being held sans any boycott calls. Interestingly, the poll boycotts had never deterred the high voter turnouts in the Baramulla seat earlier, either. 

In 1998, the Baramulla seat saw a 42 percent voter turnout, while Srinagar saw a 30.6 percent turnout. In 1999, the Baramulla seat registered 28 percent turnout, while Srinagar had 11.93 percent. In 2004, Baramulla witnessed a 36 percent turnout, while Srinagar saw 18.57 percent voter turnout. In the 1996 elections, Baramulla saw 46.65 percent voting, compared to 41 percent in Srinagar. 

Scrapping Article 370

The Lok Sabha Elections 2024 will mark the first general elections in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in August 2019 by the BJP-ruled Union government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi applauded the people of Srinagar for the ‘encouraging’ turnout, saying that the abrogation of Article 370 has enabled people to express their potential and aspirations fully. 

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also commented that voting in Srinagar was “the greatest testament to the rightness of the decision" to revoke Article 370.

Also Read: Lok Sabha Election 2024: Piyush Goyal among top 3 richest candidates in fray in phase 5 polling tomorrow

However, the BJP has not fielded a candidate in any of the three Lok Sabha seats in the predominantly Muslim Kashmir valley.  In fact, both the main contenders, Omar Abdullah and Sajad Lone, have been vocal critics of the Centre’s decision to scrap Article 370 and 35A in August 2019.

The four main candidates have conducted a high-octane campaign, which is expected to result in a higher turnout in Baramulla compared to Srinagar. It might even surpass the 1996 record of 46.65 per cent voter turnout—the highest in about three decades.

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Published: 20 May 2024, 09:04 AM IST
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