Sixth phase of polling begins on dull note in Kashmir

December 17th, 2008 - 10:31 am ICT by IANS  

Anantnag (Jammu and Kashmir), Dec 17 (IANS) Rain and winter chill led to a low-key start of polling Wednesday in 10 constituencies of south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Kulgam districts for the sixth phase of Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections.Very few voters turned out in the morning in Anantnag, Kulgam, Homeshalibugh, Devsar and Noorabad constituencies. In Kokernag, Shangus, Bijbehara Dooru and Pahalgam constituencies, only small queues were seen at polling stations.

However, poll officials were confident that more people would cast their votes later in the day.

“The voting process is likely to pick up throughout the 10 constituencies as the day warms up,” a poll official here said.

Heavy deployment of police and paramilitary central reserve police (CRPF) has been made throughout the 10 constituencies.

The separatist joint co-ordination committee has called for a poll boycott and also announced an anti-poll march to the districts headquarters in Anantnag and Kulgam to dissuade people from casting their votes.

“We have made all the required security arrangements to ensure that polling takes place smoothly and nobody is allowed to interfere with the democratic right of the people to elect their representatives,” a police officer said.

Voters in the two south Kashmir districts would today decide the fate of former chief minister and patron of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, who is pitted against Mirza Mehboob Beigh of the regional National Conference (NC) in Anantnag constituency.

Also in the fray are former ministers Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed (Congress) from Kokernag constituency, Abdul Aziz Zargar (PDP) and Sakina Itoo (NC) from Noorabad, Peerzada Ghulam Ahmad Shah (NC) from Devsar, Abdul Gaffar Sofi (PDP) from Homeshalibugh and Ghulam Ahmad Mir (Congress) from Dooru constituency.

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