Voting percentage increases in Jammu (72), Udhampur (78), while Ladakh slightly down with 63.7%
SRINAGAR: The two south Kashmir districts of Pulwama and Shopian on Monday recorded an abysmal polling percentage of 2.51, making clear that the people had neither faith nor any interest in this parliamentary election.
J&K Chief Election Officer Shailendra Kumar told reporters that polling percentage in Shopian district was 2.88 and in Pulwama district 2.14, making the average combined figure 2.51 percent in today’s polling.
For the state as whole, though, Monday’s polling was 44.51 percent, even higher than the 43 percent recorded in the 2014 parliamentary election, which itself was 12 percent higher than that in the 2009 parliamentary polls. This year’s increase has been due to increased voting percentage in Jammu and Udhampur, which recorded 72.16 and 78.2 percent polling, respectively. In Kashmir and in Ladakh, though, the polling percentage has been the lowest in a decade.
Jammu and Udhampur have been seeing increased voting percentages since 2009. According to figures, Jammu has climbed to the above 70 percent mark this year, from about 50 percent in 2009. Udhampur has reached close to 80 percent, from just above 40 percent in 2009. Ladakh has gone down from the 70 percent mark to mid-60 percent.
Anantnag parliamentary constituency has plunged to the lowest figure, 8.47 percent, while Srinagar constituency recorded 14.27 percent, Baramulla 34.9 percent, and Ladakh, which went to polls today, recorded 63.7 polling percentage.
Shailendra Kumar, when asked about how he views the low voting turnout this election, said that that he can’t force people to vote. The low voter turnout, however, seemed to have been predicted, as the Election Commission of India divided the polling for Anantag Lok Sabha seat in three separate phases. It also reduced voting time by two hours.
The low voter turnout for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, which voted in large numbers in previous elections, is being seen as trouble for the PDP. The south Kashmir region has been the PDP’s stronghold in the past but now the contest is more open, with the NC and the Congress also having equal chances of winning. The Sajjad-Lone led Peoples Conference (PC) and Er Rasheed’s party, both influential in north Kashmir, are not seen as even close to a contest in south Kashmir.