State Times News Jammu: The Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday recorded 70.2 per cent polling, while the turnout was low in Srinagar with just 14.1 per cent voters exercising their franchise in the second phase of general elections in Jammu and Kashmir, according to poll officials. No major untoward incident was reported during polling which was being held amid tight security due to terrorist threats and a boycott call by separatists in Kashmir. However, There was a protest by a group of displaced Kashmiri migrants in Jammu after some of the members found their names missing in the voters list at a special polling station. Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) J&K, Shailendra Kumar told reporters in Srinagar that incident-free voting marked second-phase of polling in Srinagar and Udhampur Parliamentary Constituencies of J&K with a total voter turnout of 45.7 per cent.
‘Just Married’ couple reaches polling booth in UdhampurUdhampur: A newly married couple, still in wedding attire, reached a polling booth of Udhampur parliamentary constituency here on Thursday, underlining the importance of exercising one’s franchise.The couple reached the polling booth in a flower-decked sedan with groom Sourav Sharma sporting a headgear and a cream coloured ‘Achkan’ over red Churidars with his bride Manisha, attired in a red ‘Salwar-Kameez’ and donning gold jewellery.Accompanied by friends and family members, the couple stepped into the booth hand-in-hand, surprising many standing in the queue and exercised their franchise.They instantly became a hit at the polling booth with dozens of people and visiting journalists clicking their pictures. “It was our moral duty. So we made it a point to vote before starting a new phase of life,” Manisha told reporters here. She said even though she just got married, she did not want to waste her vote.Groom Sourav too requested people to vote.“I request all voters in the country to exercise their franchise. This is our mandatory duty as citizens of India,” he said.People waiting at the polling booth in serpentine queues appreciated the example set-up by the newly married couple.Awaiting his turn to vote, Suram Singh said, “It is an example for rest of the voters, who prefer to enjoy a holiday instead of going to vote”.
The CEO informed that Udhampur Parliamentary constituency spread over 17 Assembly segments comprising six districts of Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Reasi, Udhampur and Kathua recorded an overall voter turnout of 70.2 per cent. Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency, spread over three districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal with 15 Assembly segments, recorded an overall voter turnout of 14.1 per cent, he added.
RSS leader’s family votes for bringing killers to justiceKISHTWAR: As soon as the rituals of 10th day of mourning period ended, the elderly mother of slain RSS leader, Chanderkant Sharma, walked to a polling station with family members, saying that their votes were for bringing Chanderkant’s killers to justice.The senior RSS leader and his security guard were martyred on April 9, when a terrorist opened fire inside a health centre in Kishtwar town. Authorities, then, imposed a curfew and called the Army to maintain law and order in the communally-sensitive region. Led by Sharma’s mother, Vidhya Devi, seven family members walked to polling station number 5 at veterinary hospital in the town and cast their votes.“My brother laid down his life for the country. It is our right and duty to cast vote. Even in this situation we still voted,” Chanderkant’s brother, Surikant Sharma told PTI.The distraught family said they were voting for the government and police to bring Chanderkant’s killers to justice. He said that he hoped the government will arrest the killers as soon as possible and hang them. “Our vote is for that,” the brother said.They asserted that Sharma was brave and never feared the threats of terrorists in Kishtwar.They family, before coming to polling station, performed the rituals, in which large number of the people took part on Thursday morning.Vidya Devi was accompanied by Surikant Sharma, daughters, Chander Kala and Jotshana Devi, daugher-in-law Anju Devi and Pranav Sharma to the polling station.
The voter turnout was highest in central Kashmir’s district Budgam with 21.5 per cent. While as Udhampur recorded 74.8 per cent, followed by Kathua 74.0 per cent, Reasi at 72.7 per cent, Kishtwar 66.2 per cent, Doda, 64.1 percent, Ramban, 59.5 per cent, respectively, the CEO informed. Pertinently the Srinagar PC is spread over 15 Assembly segments comprising three districts of Central Kashmir-Ganderbal, Srinagar and Budgam with 1,295,304 registered voters including 1,294,560 general voters and 744 service voters. Among the general voters, 667,252 were males and 627,282 were female electors.
The authorities had set up 1716 polling stations across the Parliamentary constituency to facilitate the polling.
The Udhampur parliamentary seat has 16, 85,779 electors of which 1,665,467 are registered as general voters and 20,312 as service voters. Among the General voters, 876,319 are males and 789,105 females.
The authorities had set up 2710 polling stations across the Parliamentary constituency.
He said that there were 24 candidates in fray for twin constituencies, including 12 for Udhampur PC and 12 for Srinagar PC. He said the polling was held under the supervision of General Observers, Expenditure Observers and Police Observers, besides micro observers, while as heavy deployment of staff was ensured across the polling stations in the two PCs on Poll day. The CEO informed that 25 all women polling stations and 149 model polling stations were established across the twin constituencies.
He further informed that nearly 1.5 lakh first time voters also exercised their franchise.
The CEO informed that there would be slight changes in the overall figures as the final tallies are being made.
The CEO complimented voters, political parties, contesting candidates, polling staff and security forces for smooth polling in the state.
IGP Kashmir, SP Pani, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary and SSP Srinagar were also present at the press conference.
In 2014 elections, Srinagar witnessed the lowest voter turnout in the country at 25.86 per cent whereas Udhampur witnessed 70.9 per cent polling.
Over 29.81 lakh people in the two constituencies are eligible to vote to decide the fate of 24 candidates, including former Chief Minister and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and Union Minister Jitendra Singh who are contesting for Srinagar and Udhampur Parliamentary constituencies respectively.
For migrant voters of Srinagar constituency, 26 polling stations were set up with 21 in Jammu, one in Udhampur and four in New Delhi. Out of 4,700 eligible to vote, 2,100 voters exercised their franchise.
A group of people also staged protest for not setting up polling station at Talwara (Reasi) for over 600 migrant voters.
“No polling station was setup at Talwara migrant camp for voting. We have 673 votes here. DC Reasi first promised us polling station but later refused. We were told that buses will be given to us for ensuring voting at our places, but no vehicles were sent,” a migrant leader told reporters.
The protesters raised slogans against district authorities of Reasi and the Election Commission.
Voters in border district of Kathua and Udhampur turned up in large numbers at polling booths this morning to exercise their franchise, officials said.
There was a problem with EVM at a polling station in Ramban district but it was later rectified.
Raj Devi, 95, voted at a polling station in Chenani in Udhampur district.
Police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in strength in and around polling stations in all three districts — Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal — of the constituency, the officials said.
Separatists had called for a shutdown in the three districts against the Lok Sabha polls. Meanwhile, authorities snapped mobile internet services in these districts as a precautionary measure.
“The mobile internet service has been suspended as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order,” an official said. The BSNL’s broadband service was working, but its speed has been decreased.
In Srinagar, Abdullah is pitched against Aga Moshin of PDP, Irfan Ansari of the People’s Conference and Khalid Jehangir of BJP.
In Udhampur, prominent contestants include four Rajputs: Union Minister Jitendra Singh seeking reelection on BJP ticket, Dogra dynasty scion Vikramaditya Singh fighting as a Congress candidate, Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan founder Choudhary Lal Singh and National Panthers party chairman Harsh Dev Singh.
Brimming with enthusiasm senior citizens and first-time voters turned up en-mass at polling stations to exercise their franchise.
In the early morning, the ambience was appropriate for voters as weather was more favorable and provoking to vote.
In Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency’s Ganderbal district, Dardwooder and Wangath polling stations in Kangan Assembly segment witnessed huge voter turn-out. The long queues of voters of all age groups and backgrounds were seen eagerly waiting to cast their votes.
Similarly, in Durbal Bemina-A of Budgam Assembly Segment, people, irrespective of their gender, were seen thronging polling booths from the early hours of polling. Of total 846 votes, 738 votes, including 340 males and 398 females votes, were polled in Durbal Bemina, exhibiting their firm faith in democracy.
Similar scenes were witnessed in rest of the constituency especially in Eidgah, Zadibal and Hazratbal, where people came out in significant numbers to exercise their right.
At Chadoora, Chrar-i-Shareef and several other areas of Budgam district, though the second phase of parliamentary elections began on a slow note but it gradually picked pace in later hours.
The elections were marked by the enthusiasm of first time voters, who were excited to get their fingers inked. At number of places, the youngsters were very excited to exercise their franchise.
Mohammed Yasin and Aaqib Ahmad, both 19-year-old were among the first time voters at Badipora in Chrar-i-Shareef.
“I was waiting for this day for many months. I had always been watching people casting their vote and my wish was that one day I will also be able to push the button of the electronic voting machine,” said visibly happy Yasin.
Aaqib too expressed similar feelings and recounted how the two had registered in the electoral rolls together. “We came to the polling station early in the morning and were excited to cast our vote,” said Aaqib.
In Hiranagar Assembly segment of Udhampur Parliamentary Constituency, smooth polling was recorded across most of the polling stations.
The first time voters in this segment were seen in healthy numbers replete with fervour making this democratic exercise no less than a festival.
In this segment, brisk polling was recorded in Ghagwal, Hiranagar and Kootah polling stations. Long queues of voters were seen across all these polling stations comprising old and young, men and women and specially-abled persons.
Interestingly, in Hiranagar Assembly segment, elderly women voters took lead over their men counterparts.
98-year- old Gyano Devi cast her vote at Ghagwal polling station in early hours of voting.
Similarly, Purani Devi (88), Sukhdevi (90) and Indra Devi (85) exercised their right to franchise at different polling stations across this segment.
For 20-year-old Roshan Lal, a specially-abled voter, who was accompanied by his fathers Madan Lal choosing his representative was national duty.
He cast his vote at Hiranagar polling station. He was visibly excited as he used the ballot exercise for the first time.
For Isher Kour, 101, casting her vote was reminisce of her youthful days, when she used to wait for hours in long queues to cast her ballot.
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