Srinagar: The five-phased polling process for six parliamentary seats in Jammu and Kashmir came to end Wednesday, with Baramulla constituency recording 39.6% voter turnout while Ladakh had 65%, officials said.
For Baramulla constituency, spanned in 15 Assembly segments in three districts, about 471500 out of 11,90766 voters turned out and sealed in EVMs the fate 15 candidates including main contenders—National Conference’s sitting MP Sharief-ud-Din Shariq, Peoples Democratic Party’s Muzaffar Hussain Baig and Peoples Conference’s Salam-ud-Din Bajad.
The voting pattern for the constituency remained similar to last Lok Sabha election with Kupwara witnessing higher voter out while most people in Baramulla sided with those opposing elections in Kashmir.
Baramulla district’s Sopore Assembly segment, the hometown of Hurriyat Conference (G) leader Syed Ali Geelani, recorded a paltry 1% voting.
Addressing reporters here, Chief Electoral Officer Umang Narula said that Kupwara had an overall voting of 60.19% followed by Bandipora with 35.65% and 25.04 % in Baramulla district.
Giving the constituency breakup of the voting percentage, Narula said that Karnah recorded 71.57%, Kupwara had 69.29%, Lolab 57.37%, Handwara 69.92%, Langate 47.84%, Uri 65.42%, Rafiabad 21.83%, Sopore 1.02%, Sangrama 18.07%, Baramulla 23.46%, Gulmarg 29.50%, Pattan 23.65%, Gurez 48.28%, Bandipora 20.52% and Sonawari 49.02% voting.
The constituency, which was last to go to polls from the Valley along with Ladakh, has been a stronghold of pro-India NC with the party having won the seat two out of the three times in the past.
In 2009, NC’s Sharief-ud-Din Shariq was declared as the winner, succeeding Abdul Rashid Shaheen who had been elected as Member of Parliament in 2004.
For Ladakh Parliamentary constituency, 65% of 159,000 electorate turned up at polling booths to seal fate of four candidates. The Lok Sabha constituency spread in twin districts of Leh and Kargil, offers interesting contest between Congress nominee T Samphel and Thupstan Chewang of BJP in Leh and two independents Syed Kazim Sabri and Ghulam Raza in Kargil.
As per Narula, 64% votes were casted in Leh while 65.8% electorate exercised its franchise in Kargil districts of the Parliamentary seat.
Narula said as many as 2147 polling stations were set up across both the Constituencies at 1878 different locations and included 132 critical, 1091 hypersensitive and 455 sensitive polling stations.
He also said that web casting facility was available in 55 polling booths. Besides, he said, 20 digital as well as 92 video cameras were installed for covering the poll process in the twin Constituencies.
The Chief Electoral Officer said that four General, two Expenditure, two Police and two Awareness observers were deployed apart from as many as 257 Micro Observers across both the seats.
He said that 13726 polling personnel were deployed in these constituencies during the fifth and last phase of electioneering.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Abdul Gani Mir, who was flanking Narula, said that situation remained by and large peaceful in the twin constituencies as unprecedented security arrangements were in place to facilitate the voters.
To a question about relocation of polling booths and that whether the process, carried first time in the state, depicts worsening of situation, the officers said that every election is different and warrants different strategies.
Regarding a question whether electioneering even after 48 hours before scheduled polling on social media by contesting candidates amounts to violation of Model Code of Conduct, Narula said that it is for social media sites to check the contents and see if the law has been followed.
Asked about expenditure on elections, Narula said that it is to be collected.