64 percent voter turnout in Jammu and Kashmir (Lead)

November 18th, 2008 - 12:34 am ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Nov 17 (IANS) At least 64 percent voting was recorded Monday in the first phase of the seven-stage polling Jammu and Kashmir election despite a boycott call by Muslim separatists, an official said.According to the latest data collated from all the 1,066 polling stations of the 10 constituencies, the overall voting percentage in the state stood at 63.75, chief electoral officer B.R. Sharma said. Earlier in the day, the figure was put at around 55 percent.

Bandipora in the Kashmir Valley, previously a hub of Muslim militants, surprisingly saw more than 57 percent of the registered voters exercising their franchise despite the winter chill and the boycott by separatists, Sharma said.

He said the polling in the troubled state was by and large peaceful, barring minor skirmishes in some places.

Sharma said 74 percent of voters polled in Gurez, 46 percent in Sonawari - the two other constituencies in the valley.

In Jammu region, Mendhar reported a turnout of 73 percent, Poonch Haveli 73, and Surankot 68, the election officer said.

In the cold desert of Ladakh, where temperatures dipped below zero degree Celsius, the voting percentage was more than 60 in the four constituencies of Zanskar, Kargil, Nobra and Leh, he said.

The high voting percentage figures have come as a surprise, observors from political parties said.

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