LO­CAL POLLS

Low­est poll per­cent­age of 1.8 per cent recorded in Srinagar, over­all 16.4% polling

The Asian Age - - Nation - YUSUF JAMEEL

A vast ma­jor­ity of vot­ers in Kash­mir Val­ley chose to shun the bal­lot as polling was held on Sat­ur­day in 96 wards spread across four dis­tricts of Jammu and Kash­mir in the third phase of the ur­ban lo­cal bod­ies’ ( ULB) elec­tions.

Chief Elec­toral Of­fi­cer ( CEO), Shaleen Kabra, said that over­all 16.4 per­cent polling was wit­nessed across these wards. In the Kash­mir Val­ley, the turnout was re­stricted to av­er­age 3.5 per­cent. The low­est poll per­cent­age of 1.8 per­cent was recorded in Srinagar.

As many as 365 can­di­dates were in the fray for 96 wards of the eight ULBs for the third phase with a to­tal elec­torate of 193,990.

How­ever, it was an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent story in fron­tier Uri re­gion of north­west Bara­mulla district where high­est 75.3 per­cent vot­ing was re­ported. Like­wise in Jammu divi­sion, 81.4 per­cent polling was wit­nessed in four UBLs of Samba district, Mr. Kabra said adding that high­est polling per­cent­age of 85.73 per­cent in Jammu divi­sion was recorded in Bari Bra­hamana ULB.

Re­act­ing to the all- time low voter turnout in the first three phases of the elec­tions, for­mer Chief Min­is­ter and vice pres­i­dent of Na­tional Con­fer­ence ( NC) Omar Abdullah al­leged that the Cen­tre has mis­han­dled Kash­mir. He sought rea­sons for the poor voter turnout. He tweeted, ‘ From the high­est turnouts since 1987 in 2014 to the low­est turnouts ever recorded in 2018 why is the Modi gov­ern­ment able to get away with its dis­as­trous hand­ing of Kash­mir al­most un­ques­tioned?”.

The CEO said that the cu­mu­la­tive poll per­cent­age in all the three phases till date has been 41.9 per­cent with 68.4 per­cent vot­ing recorded in Jammu divi­sion and 6.7 per­cent in Kash­mir divi­sion. The fi­nal phase of the mu­nic­i­pal polls is sched­uled to be held on Oc­to­ber 16.

Srinagar, the nerve po­lit­i­cal cen­tre in the State, has recorded 6.2 per­cent, 2.3 per­cent and 1.8 per­cent turnout in the first, sec­ond and third phase of the ULB elec­tions.

‘ Joint Re­sis­tance Lader­ship ( JRL)’, the al­liance of key sep­a­ratist lead­ers, said that the peo­ple have, once again, re­jected the “forcibly thrust, sham and fu­tile ex­er­cise of so- called elec­tion” as there was a near to­tal boy­cott Srinagar.

It said in a state­ment here, “Peo­ple see this delu­sive cos­metic at­tempt as an­other as­sault on them and hence are re­sist­ing it tooth and nail.”

The al­liance also said that it is time Gov­ern­ment of In­dian should pay heed to what it said is the clear mes­sage em­a­nat­ing from the re­jec­tion of these elec­tions by the peo­ple of Kash­mir.

“Peo­ple of Kash­mir have no faith in them. They see this process as a de­cep­tion played upon them by suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments in In­dia to hood­wink In­di­ans for elec­toral gains and to mis­lead the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity by sell­ing them as peo­ple’s ver­dict in In­dia’s favour,” the state­ment read. of it in

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