Amid anti-poll protests, very low voting in Srinagar

December 24th, 2008 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Dec 24 (IANS) Voters trickled in slowly in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar region where polling for the seventh and last phase of the elections Wednesday was underway amid sporadic protests and a boycott call by separatists. Most polling stations in the eight constituencies of Srinagar district recorded very low voter turnout during the first two hours.

In Hazratbal and Sonawar constituencies, from where patron of the regional National Conference (NC) party and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah is contesting, only three percent of the electorate had cast its vote in the first two hours.

The figures were similar in other constituencies.

In Zadibal and Idgah constituencies, it was one percent, in Batmaloo two percent, in Khanyar 4.5 percent, in Habba Kadal 2.5 percent and in Amira Kadal 3.5 percent.

But there were some who felt differently.

Outside the Dhobighat polling station in Hazratbal, Showkat Ahmad, 18, was waiting in a small queue for his turn to vote.

“I am voting for the first time and my need is a government job. I have no other consideration and I hope my vote helps the candidate who gets me a job after winning the elections,” he said.

As polling progressed in fits and starts in the deserted streets, small anti-poll protests were carried out by groups of people in Chanapora, Natipora, Nawab Bazar and other localities of the city.

There were reports of about two dozen bogus voters being arrested. They had been brought to some polling stations by the supporters of candidates.

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