The second phase of polling for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat on Monday recorded a dismal voter turnout of 10.3 per cent from among nearly 3.45 lakh electorate.Also Read - 'Leave Or Face Death': Terror Group In Threat Letter To Kashmiri Pandits In J&K's Pulwama
The second phase of the voting for the Anantnag seat, which is undergoing polls in three phases due to security reasons, was held in Kulgam district on Monday along with the fourth phase of polling in the country for 72 parliamentary constituencies across nine states. Also Read - Kashmiri Pandit Rahul Bhat’s Killing Avenged, 3 Terrorists Involved Gunned Down by Security Forces
Anantnag parliamentary constituency comprises four districts of Jammu and Kashmir — Anathnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama — having a total of 16 assembly segments. Also Read - J&K Govt Forms SIT to Investigate Killing of Chadoora Tehsil Office Employee Rahul Bhat
While the polling in Anantnag district was held on April 23, the voting in Pulwama and Shopian districts will take place on May 6.
“The voter turnout in the polling held today in Kulgam district was 10.3 per cent. These are tentative figures which may vary once the final tally is done,” Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir Shailendra Kumar told reporters.
He said of the 3,44,244 eligible voters, only 35,524 cast their votes during the polling which began at 7 am and ended at 4 pm.
“The polling was peaceful and there were no reports of any violence,” he added.
Giving the assembly segment-wise break up of the polling, Kumar said Homshalibug registered 1.14 per cent voter turnout, the lowest in the district, while Kulgam seat recorded 1.72 per cent.
Noorabad saw 20.58 per cent votes polled while Devsar recorded 16.84 per cent, he added.
Following the Monday voting, Kumar put the overall poll percentage for Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency at 12.3 per cent. Anantnag district had recorded 13.6 percent turnout.
Compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Kulgam district witnessed a massive drop in the voter turn out.
The district had registered 36.3 per cent turnout in the polls held five years ago.
Poll watchers attribute the drastic fall in poll percentage to a five-year ban on Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu Kashmir (JeI JK), which has a considerable presence in Kulgam district.
Homshalibug and Kulgam assembly segments, where the voter turnout did not touch even two per cent, was won by Muslim United Front (MUF) in 1987 assembly elections while they had garnered significant votes in other assembly segments of the district as well.
The now-defunct political party was mainly driven by Jamaat cadres.
Police officials said though the voting in the district was held amid stringent security measures, isolated incidents of stone-pelting occurred near some polling stations.
Kumar said the third leg of voting for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in Pulwama and Shopian districts on May 6 is likely to be challenging but the authorities have taken all possible steps to ensure peaceful polling.
“We have taken certain measures after every phase of elections and we are confident we will have smooth elections in the third phase as well,” he added.
PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti is among the 18 candidates contesting for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat.
The other notable candidates include Congress state president G A Mir, former high court judge Hasnain Masoodi (National Conference) and former MLC Sofi Yousuf (BJP).