Peaceful, but low voting for Kashmir’s Anantnag seat (Lead)

April 30th, 2009 - 12:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Anantnag (Jammu and Kashmir), April 30 (IANS) Few voters came out to vote in the south Kashmir parliamentary constituency of Anantnag with only four percent turnout recorded in the first three hours of polling.
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.

“Though voter turnout has been low so far, it is totally peaceful throughout the constituency and no untoward incident has been reported from anywhere,” a police officer told IANS.

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 also saw some 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.

“There has been five percent polling in Kulgam assembly segment during the first three hours. It was two percent in Homeshalibugh assembly segment and 11 percent in Noorabad segment.

“We hope the voting process would pick up as the day progresses,” a poll official said here.

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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