A voter turnout of 2 percent was registered at 38 polling stations today as the elections were held amid unprecedented security arrangements.
Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Shant Manu, said that polling remained incident free. “It was held under peaceful conditions. A polling percentage of 2 percent was registered and out of around 35,169 electors, about 709 votes were cast,” said Shant Manu.
Authorities had imposed restrictions under section 144 in Budgam district on Thursday except for those areas where re-poll was ordered. Shant Manu said that after the voting the total polling percentage on Srinagar parliamentary seat remained 7.13.
He said that there was no need for re-poll at any of the polling stations as there were no disruptions even as a near total boycott was witnessed today. Shant Manu said that the arrangements are being reviewed for the counting which will be held as per schedule on April 15 at the counting centre at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convocation Centre (SKICC).
On the Srinagar seat National Conference President and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah is pitted against the PDP leader, Nazir Ahmad Khan, who had lost the 2014 assembly elections against ex-CM, Omar Abdullah.
Minor clashes between people and the protestors and the scuffle between the workers of PDP and NC were reported earlier during the day in some of the poll-bound areas. Hurriyat Conference had asked the people to go for strike in the poll-bound areas following which a complete shutdown was observed in areas where voting was to be held. Most of the polling stations witnessed low polling and remained deserted.
As soon as the polling was over minor clashes were reported between government forces and police in Beerwah town of central Kashmir’s Budgam district. Youth hurled rocks on the forces who were withdrawing after performing the polling duties. At Nasrullahpora village of Budgam protesters attempted to march towards a polling station and engaged in clashes with forces who were foiling their bid to storm into a polling station at Takipora polling station.
Government forces used tear smoke shells and pepper gas and fired pellets to disperse the protesters that triggered intense clashes. Very less polling percentage was reported at Beerwah as well as adjacent constituency of Khansahib in Budgam district.
The re-poll was ordered in areas of Chadoora, Chrar-e-Sharief, Khansahib and Beerwah in Budgam following protests due to which only 7.4 percent voting was registered on Sunday. The voting percentage was the lowest in the electoral history of the state, and lower than the elections held in peak militancy period which had started in 1989.
Separatist groups had called for a boycott of the by-elections. Earlier the Election Commission had deferred the Anantnag Lok Sabha by-election in south Kashmir to 25 May. The elections was scheduled earlier on 12 April.