Around 40 percent polling in Jammu region (Lead)

December 13th, 2008 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyKathua (Jammu and Kashmir), Dec 13 (IANS) Polling for the fifth phase of elections to the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir assembly was underway Saturday in five constituencies of Kathua district, where around 40 percent voting was recorded till late afternoon.”There has been brisk polling in all the five constituencies in the district. Till 3 p.m., around 40 percent voting was recorded. The percentage is expected to go up by the time polling ends,” an election official here said.

There are 66 candidates in the fray. The main contest is between the National Conference (NC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Congress is virtually out of the scene.

Polling stations in the five constituencies - Bani, Basholi, Billawar, Hiranagar and Kathua - opened at 8 a.m. Despite the winter chill, people came out in large numbers to cast their votes.

In Hiranagar, villagers in their best attire had come out to vote. “It is a scared day,” said Vimal Gupta, a farmer.

“We have many problems. The condition of the roads is particularly bad, but we do hope that this election will lead to an improvement in the situation,” he said.

Despite apprehension that the stiff competition might provoke clashes among the supporters of the candidates, the polling process was conducted smoothly.

The only protest was witnessed in Kalibari area of Kathua constituency. More than 1,000 staged a sit in on the Pathankote-Jammu highway to protest the delay in the opening of the polling station due to snags in the electronic voting machines.

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