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Amid protests, shutdown LS polls held in Srinagar, Udhampur witnesses overwhelming voter turn out
4/18/2019 11:58:04 PM
Jehangir Rashid

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Apr 18: Amid protests, shutdown and internet gag voting was held in the Central Kashmir's Srinagar-Budgam Lok Sabha seat today. Along with the Srinagar parliamentary seat election was also held in the Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat as well.
At least 24 candidates are in the fray for two Lok Sabha constituencies where over 29.81 lakh voters decided their fate. The two constituencies had 29,81,083 registered electors including 15,43,571 males, 14,16,387 females, 21,056 service voters (20,780 males and 276 females) and 69 transgender voters.
In Srinagar, authorities had set up 1716 polling stations across the Srinagar parliamentary constituency to facilitate the polling. Official figures suggested that 80 per cent of the polling booths in Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal were falling in hypersensitive category while remaining 20 percent have been declared as sensitive.
"The polling staff and the machinery including electronic voting machines have reached the designated polling stations in all three districts," said an official.
Amid complete shutdown in Kashmir poll bound areas, thin voting was registered today that started from 07:00 am to 06:00 pm. The protests and clashes also erupted at many places in the poll bounds areas.
Reports said that youth pelted stones on government forces deployed for polling duty and polling stations, while as the forces resorted back with aerial firing. In which lady was hit by pellet and she was referred to SMHS hospital for specialized treatment.
Clashes also erupted in many Srinagar areas including Batamaloo, Chattabal, and others during which forces used tear gas canisters to disperse the agitating youth. While as most of the polling stations in downtown Srinagar wore a deserted look with majority of them witnessed zero percent polling as people kept their date with the tradition of staying away from the elections, thin attendance of voters was witnessed elsewhere in Srinagar district except Fakir-Gujri, a village of nomadic community located at a hillock where festive scenes were witnessed.
The polling booths in downtown areas projected a disappointing situation as the roads were dotted with the forces personnel and at some places young boys were playing cricket on the deserted streets.
A polling booth at Khanyar had witnessed only ten votes throughout the day and same was the situation in elsewhere in downtown that include Safa Kadal, Nowhatta, Khanyar, Mahraj Gunj and other adjoining areas.
The situation was somehow different in uptown areas that include Nishat, Shalimar, Dara, Theed, Harwan and the picturesque Fakir Gujri area on the Srinagar outskirts where people, especially those from the nomadic community were lined up in long queues waiting for their turn to cast votes.
Barring Fakir Gujri, where people voted en-masse, thin voting was witnessed in Shalimar, Nishat, Harwan and Theed areas. Those who voted asserted that they are voting for the protection of special status of Jammu and Kashmir by virtue of article 370 and state subject law guaranteed in article 35 A.
At Fakir Gujri, men, women, elderly and many first time voters, were lined up, desperately waiting for their turn to cast votes. The candidates in the fray in Srinagar parliamentary seat include Sheikh Khalid Jehangir of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Aga Syed Mohsin of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abdul Rashid Ganie of J&K National Panthers Party, Dr. Farooq Abdullah of National Conference (NC) and Irfan Raza Ansari of Peoples Conference (PC).
The constituency was earlier represented by Dr. Farooq Abdullah who emerged victorious in by-elections in 2017. He defeated his close rival Nazir Khan of People's Democratic Party (PDP) candidate by 10,766 votes.
In Udhampur Lok Sabaha constituency, Tilak Raj Bhagat of Bhujan Samaj Party, Dr. Jitendra Singh of Bhartiya Janta Party, Vikramaditya Singh of Indian National Congress, Harsh Dev Singh of JKNPP, Chaudhary Lal Singh of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party along with some others are in fray.
The Udhampur parliamentary seat has 16, 85,779 electors of which 16,65,467 are registered as general voters and 20,312 as service voters. For the smooth conduct of election in the PC, the Election Commission of India has established 2,710 polling stations.
The constituency was represented by Dr. Jitendra Singh of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). He had defeated his nearest rival Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress. Singh secured 487,369 votes while Azad managed to bag 426,393 votes.
In the constituency Udhampur district witnessed the highest 72.2 per cent polling, followed by Kathua and Reasi till 1700 hrs in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections for Udhampur-Kathua Parliamentary Constituency on Thursday. Kathua and Reasi reported 69.8 per cent voting each, followed by Ramban 56.4 per cent, Doda 60.4 per cent and Kishtwar registered 60 per cent.
The constituency is spread over 17 Assembly segments, comprising six districts of Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Reasi, Udhampur and Kathua.
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