• Saturday, May 18, 2024

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India poll: Srinagar in Kashmir witnesses 3-decade high polling

Polling percentage in the Srinagar Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Indian parliament) has hovered between 11-30 per cent range since 1998.

Women voters queue up to cast their ballots at a polling station during the fourth phase of voting in India’s general election on May 13, 2024 in Srinagar in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

SRINAGAR, the biggest city of the northern Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday (13) witnessed a history of sort as 36 per cent (provision figures) of voting turnout for the ongoing parliamentary elections, the highest since 1996.

Polling percentage in the Srinagar Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Indian parliament) has hovered between 11-30 per cent since 1998. In the previous election in 2019, the seat witnessed a poor 14.4 per cent turnout.

This year’s election is the first national one since the Narendra Modi government abrogated in 2019 Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gave the former state a special status.

Voters stepped out of their houses to exercise ballots in the first major election since the development of August 2019 in a peaceful ambience.

Read: Modi files nomination from Varanasi, recalls ‘amazing’ ties with city

According to a report by the Hindustan Times, Jammu and Kashmir’s chief electoral officer Pandurang K Pole said the 36 per cent voter turnout till 5 pm local time on Monday was the highest since 1989, when militancy erupted to the region out of gear.

There was also no untoward incident reported from any of more than 2,000 polling stations spread across five districts of the Srinagar parliamentary constituency.

Regional parties such as National Conference (NC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Apni Party also ran intense campaigns for this year’s election.

Read: Modi’s BJP skips national elections in Kashmir; opposition mock integration claims

All the three parties fielded their candidates for the seat where prime minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has not given any candidate, besides two other constituencies in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley.

Twenty-three candidates were in the fray in Srinagar.

The NC and PDP, both critical of the BJP, made allegations that their workers and agents were harassed by the police at some places. They also said that voting machines were taking unusually long time at some of the polling stations, leading to long queues. The electoral officials, however, denied any such incident.

According to a report by AFP, voters in Kashmir were likely to express their discontent with the Modi government’s 2019 move to cancel the territory’s semi-autonomy and the security crackdown that followed.

Modi, however, is expected to win power in New Delhi for a rare third consecutive term when results of the marathon national elections come out on June 4.

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