70% in Udhampur, 14.8% in Srinagar voter turnout, Highest in Chrar-e-Sharif, lowest in Eidgah

In the second phase of the parliamentary elections today, Udhampur recorded 70 per cent voting, while Srinagar 14.8.

The polling was, in general, peaceful barring a few places in the Srinagar constituency where incidents of stone-throwing were reported.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir, Shailendra Kumar, told a press conference here this evening that the poll percentage might be higher as reports from various areas were still coming in. He said Udhampur district had a high poll percentage of 69.8, while Srinagar district recorded the lowest poll percentage of 7.96.

“The polling was peaceful and there were no reports of any violence anywhere,” Shalendra Kumar, CEO said.

However, there were reports of stone-throwing from various parts of the Srinagar constituency in Kashmir during the polling. The CEO was accompanied by the IG Police, Kashmir range, SP Pani, and Returning Officer, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary.

The Srinagar seat recorded 14.8 poll percentage which has been double compared to over 7 per cent in the violence-hit byelections in 2017.

The CEO said the Banihal Assembly segment of Ramban district in Udhampur and Eidgah segment in Srinagar district and constituency recorded the lowest poll percentage. The highest poll percentage of Reasi district in Udhampur constituency of the Jammu region was 73.2, while Budgam district in Srinagar parliamentary constituency recorded the highest poll percentage of 21.5.

Giving details, the CEO said the total number of voters in the two constituencies was 29.6 lakh, including 15.4 lakh males and 14.1 female voters. In all, 4,426 polling stations were set up for the purpose in the two constituencies, while 21 were set up for migrant voters.

The electorate included 1.5 lakh first-time voters, of whom 1.2 lakh voters were in the age group between 18 and 21.

There were 25 all-women polling stations and 149 model polling stations set up for voting in both the seats.

Meanwhile, District Election Officer, Kishtwar, Angrez Singh Rana, on Thursday suspended a presiding officer and a teacher for violating the model code of conduct. Aghazahid Rehman, presiding officer of a polling station at Charosou in the Inderwal Assembly segment, was suspended for not performing election duty with due care and responsibility.

Chrar-e-Sharif, an Assembly segment in Budgam district and home to the shrine of Kashmir’s revered saint Sheikh Noor-ud-din, lived to its reputation on Thursday as it topped the voter turnout in the Srinagar parliamentary constituency.
The central Kashmir’s shrine-town constituency polled a little over 30 per cent, the highest in the Srinagar constituency, which is spread over three districts and 15 Assembly segments.

The polling in Chrar-e-Sharif, which has an electorate of 81,879, had a slow start with 1 per cent votes cast by 9 am. It gradually picked pace as 7.1 per cent votes were cast by 11 am, 9.5 by 1 pm and 24.2 by 3 pm.

An hour before the voting ended, Chrar-e-Sharif became the only segment in the Srinagar constituency to cross the 30 per cent mark.

Even though the Chrar-e-Sharif segment polled the highest votes in the Srinagar constituency this election, it was drastically low compared to 65.65 per cent votes cast there in the 2014 General Elections.

Chrar-e-Sharif, which has traditionally remained the bastion of the National Conference (NC) before the PDP routed it out in the last Assembly election, along with Kangan were the only segments in Srinagar which had polled above 50 per cent votes in 2014.

In contrast to Chrar-e-Sharif, the Eidgah segment in Srinagar district accounted for the lowest votes in the constituency with less than 3 per cent turnout. Home to an electorate of 81,879, Eidgah made a slow start with 0.8 per cent votes by 9 am, 1.3 by 11 am, 2.2 by 1 pm and 2.5 by 3 pm.

Eidgah, which is part of the separatism’s heartland and also home to one of the largest graveyards of militants, had recorded 10.85 per cent in the 2014 election. Even with the low voter turnout in Eidgah in all recent elections, the NC has consecutively retained the seat in the Assembly.

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