Lethargic polling on in Baramulla, Brisk in Ladakh

KL Report

SRINAGAR

Polling on a lethargic note in north Kashmir’s Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency on Wednesday is going on however queues of voters, both men and women, were seen outside the polling booths in Kargil district of Ladakh’s Lok Sabha seat.

Not a single vote had been cast during the first two hours in Baramulla town, where 11 polling stations have been clubbed by the poll authorities because of law and order problems in the old town area.

Baramulla town has been a strong bastion of the old ailing separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani who has called for a boycott of the polls.

Voters, however, is trickling out in north Kashmir Kupwara and Handwara towns. Officials in these two towns said voter turnout would pick up as the day progresses.

In Tangdhar and Gurez, voters had started coming out in respectable numbers to elect their representative for the 16th Lok Sabha.

Voter turnout was low in Pattan, Sopore, Sumbal and Hajin segments.

Low voter turnout was also seen in Watergam village of Baramulla district where an explosion occurred inside a school building Tuesday.

Voting is likely to pick up in Gulmarg, Sangrama, Karnah and Uri assembly segments by midday.

The main contest in Baramulla is between the ruling National Conference candidate, Sharief-ud-Din Shariq who is seeking re-election and Muzaffar Hussain Baig of the regional Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

There are 13 other candidates in the fray, but prominent among them are Engineer Rashid, a sitting Jammu and Kashmir legislator, and Salamuddin Bajad, a tribal Gujjar fielded by the Peoples Conference (PC) headed by Sajad Gani Lone.

There are 11.89 lakh voters in Baramulla Lok Sabha seat. In 2009 elections, 41.84 percent votes had been polled in Baramulla.

In Ladakh, People turned up early in the morning in Leh town, Nubra and Zanskar assembly segments of Ladakh.

In 2009 elections, 71.86 percent votes had been polled in Ladakh.

Poll officials, some of whom spoke to media, said they are expecting the poll percentage to increase further this time given the enthusiasm of the voters.

1.59 lakh voters are registered in Ladakh constituency and four candidates are in fray. They are Tsering Samphal of the Congress, Thupstan Chhewang of the BJP and two independents, Ghulam Raza and Sayed Mohammad Kazim.

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