Voting picks up in Kashmir despite anti-poll protest (Lead)

December 17th, 2008 - 1:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Anantnag (Jammu and Kashmir), Dec 17 (IANS) After a low-key start in rainy cold weather, voting for the sixth phase of Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections picked up in the 10 constituencies of south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Kulgam districts Wednesday despite anti-poll protests in Anantnag constituency.Dozens of anti-poll protesters shouting slogans against the elections took to the streets in Khanabal locality of Anantnag constituency. Police and the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) stepped in to chase them away.

Despite the protests, around two dozen voters were lined up outside the polling station to cast their votes.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) patron and former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed is contesting the polls from this constituency and is pitted against the National Conference (NC) provincial president Mirza Mehboob Beigh, who is seeking re-election from here.

Due to heavy rain overnight and winter chill, few voters ventured out of their houses in the morning. However, as the day progressed, long queues could be seen outside polling stations in Buchoo, Wangam and Nowgam villages of Shangus constituency.

In Tajiwara village of Shangus constituency, members of the minority Sikh community joined their Muslim neighbours to cast their votes.

Reports of an increasing number of voters exercising their franchise were also coming in from Kokernag, Dooru, Kulgam, Noorabad, Devsar, Homeshalibugh, Bijbehara and Pahalgam constituencies.

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