55 percent voting recorded in Jammu and Kashmir

December 7th, 2008 - 9:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Srinagar, Dec 7 (IANS) An estimaged 55 percent of the 1.4 million electorate voted Sunday in the fourth phase of the staggered Jammu and Kashmir elections, defying a winter chill and Muslim separatists’ boycott call, Election Commission officials said.Polling was by and large peaceful in the 18 constituencies spread over the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley and predominantly Hindu Jammu region.

“An estimated 55 percent voters peacefully exercised their right to vote,” R. Bhattacharya, deputy election commissioner, told reporters in the national capital.

Bhattacharya said there was no major untoward incident.

In Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, Chief Electoral Officer B.R. Sharma said the poll percentage in the 18 constituencies had marginally improved as compared to the 2002 elections.

The 18 constituencies recorded a turnout of 48 percent in 2002, Sharma noted.

The Baramulla district, considered to be separatists’ stronghold, saw 43 percent voting as compared to 37 in 2002.

At least 54 percent voting was recorded in the Shia-dominated Badgam district. The district saw 51 percent voter turnout in 2002.

More than 72 percent voters exercised their franchise in Jammu’s Reasi district while as in Udhampur 62 voting percentage was recorded.

Next three rounds of the seven-phase elections would be held Dec 13, 17 and 24. The votes would be counted four days after the final round.

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