Over 26 percent voting in Kashmir Valley

April 30th, 2009 - 8:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar/New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) Hundreds of thousands defied death threats from Pakistan-based terrorists to vote Thursday in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency in the Kashmir Valley - a “significant” voter turnout given boycott calls from separatist leaders in the troubled state, officials said.
The voting ended “peacefully” and over 26 percent of the 1.16 million electorate voted by 5 p.m. across the southern Kashmir constituency despite a shutdown called by the separatists to trip electoral process, state chief electoral officer B.R. Sharma told reporters here.

“The polling percentage could be over 30 percent as we get the figures from all the polling stations (in Anantnag). According to figures received so far, the polling percentage is over 25,” Deputy Election Commission R. Balakrishnan said in the capital.

Balakrishnan said the number is “significant” given the boycott call by separatist leaders. He said the figure is “remarkably” more than the 2004 Lok Sabha election, when only 15.04 people voted.

In Srinagar, the election official said “over 300,000 people voted” in defiance of the boycott call, which is a “respectable” figure in terms of national voting figures.

While both the moderate and radical wings of the Hurriyat Conference called for an election boycott, the Pakistan-based United Jehad Council as well as Lashkar-e-Taiba terror groups had threatened voters with death.

Sharma said the voting was “incident free”, barring minor clashes between rival political parties. “We received seven complaints from political parties. But the complaints were dismissed as there was no substance in them.”

The main contest in the constituency is between the Peoples Democratic Party’s Peer Mohammed Hussain and Mirza Mehboob Beg of the ruling National Conference.

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