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news details
Time for Kashmiri leaders to sit up and ponder
Low voter turnout
5/4/2019 11:12:15 PM
Early Times Report

JAMMU, May 4: Things in Kashmir have gone from bad to worse. Bulk of the population in the Kashmir Valley has lost interest in the democratic processes. The situation has climaxed to the point that Kashmir this time witnessed the lowest-ever voter turnout after years.
For example, the Kashmir's prestigious Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, where voting took place on April 18, along with elections in Kathua-Udhampur-Doda parliamentary constituency in Jammu province, witnessed zero voter turnout in as many as 90 polling stations. On April 23, the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency witnessed zero voter turnout at as many as 65 polling booths. The story of Kashmir's Baramulla constituency was not that disappointing. The Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency, where elections took place on April 11, witnessed zero voter turnout at 17 polling stations.
In other words, the Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla parliamentary constituencies witnessed zero per cent voter turnout or polling in as many as 172 polling stations.
Not just this, Sopore assembly segment in Baramula, Bijbehara in Anantnag, the Eidgah in Srinagar, to mention only two assembly segments, witnessed single digit polling. Bijbehara witnessed a paltry 2 per cent polling, Sopore just 3 per cent and Eidgah only 3.4 per cent.
In contrast, Jammu's two parliamentary constituencies witnessed a very high voter turnout. Some of the assembly segments in Jammu's two Lok Sabha constituencies witnessed over 80 per cent voter turn out. The voters voted with enthusiasm to elect their representatives to the Lok Sabha, the nation's highest law-making body.
The very low voter turnout in Kashmir has brought Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), Omar Abdullah (NC), Sajad Lone (PC) and GA Mir (Congress) face to face with each other. Both Omar Abdullah and GA Mir are holding the PDP and the BJP responsible for the prevailing situation in Kashmir Valley and saying it was their bad governance and hard policy that alienated the Kashmiri Muslims to the extent that they decided to stay indoors and boycott the election.
On the other hand, Mehbooba Mufti is reminding Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah that there was also low voter turnout in Kashmir in the 1996 Lok Sabha and assembly elections and, at the same time, alleging that the low voter turnout in Anantnag constituency was a "conspiracy against her". As for Lone, he is tearing into Farooq Abdullah and holding the Abdullah dynasty squarely responsible for the prevailing volatile situation in the valley. And, all are accusing other saying it was the politics of opportunism indulged in by each other that spoiled the electoral scene in the Valley.
Blaming each other is not the solution; finding where the Kashmiri leaders went wrong is the solution. They must sit up at the earliest and find ways and means calculated to motivating the Kashmiri Muslims to not boycott democratic and electoral exercises. The sooner they do it, the better.
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