Despite boycott call, 12 percent voting in four hours in Kashmir (Second Lead)

April 30th, 2009 - 1:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Anantnag (Jammu and Kashmir), April 30 (IANS) The trickle of voters steadily increased as the day passed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag constituency where turnout in the parliamentary elections went up to 11.83 percent in the first four hours of polling till 11 a.m.
The trend had officials hoping that the turnout by the end of the day would exceed the 15.04 percent that the constituency had seen in the 2004 parliamentary elections.

“Voting in villages has been comparatively higher than that in the towns and cities of the 16 assembly segments spread over four districts of this Lok Sabha constituency.

“Till 11 a.m., the poll percentage for the entire constituency was 11.83 percent. In 2004 elections, the constituency had recorded 15.04 percent votes and this time it is expected the percentage of votes polled would be higher than that,” a poll official told IANS here.

The 1,485 polling booths in the districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama opened at 7 a.m. amid tight security but it was no more than a trickle till 10 a.m. However, the exercise was proceeding smoothly, officials said.

Mirza Mehboob Beg of the ruling National Conference (NC) and Peer Muhammad Hussain of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are the main contestants here.

Held under the shadow of a boycott, with separatists calling for a 50-hour shutdown to coincide with the polls, the elections saw some moments of enthusiasm. In Telangam polling station of the Pulwama district, 100-year-old Haji Abdul Khaliq Dar was among the 18 voters who cast his vote.

In Rajpora village of Pulwama, nearly 500 votes had been cast up to 10 a.m. at the four polling stations set up for around 5,000 voters.

In Tral town of the same district, however, voters seemed to be totally indifferent towards exercising their franchise as less than one percent turned out up to 10 a.m. in all the polling stations set up in the town.

In Dadsara village, no votes had been cast at the three polling stations till 10 a.m.

Anantnag is the first of the three Lok Sabha constituencies of the Kashmir valley to go to the polls.

Voting in the Srinagar seat is scheduled for May 7 and Baramulla seat for May 13.

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