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