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Article 370 abrogation enabled aspirations of people: PM Modi on Srinagar turnout

May 15, 2024

Srinagar- Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his gratitude to the people who voted in large numbers in the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency stating that the abrogation of Article 370 has enabled the potential and aspirations of the people to find full expression.

“Would especially like to applaud the people of the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency for the encouraging turnout, significantly better than before. The abrogation of Article 370 has enabled the potential and aspirations of the people to find full expression. Happening at the grassroots level, it is great for the people of J&K, in particular, you, ” PM Modi wrote on X.

Pertinently, the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat recorded 38 percent voting on May 13, which according to CEO P K Pole is the second highest since the eruption of militancy in 1989.

 “The corresponding percentage for the last Lok Sabha election in 2019 was 14.43 percent. This time, there was no boycott and no polling station recorded zero percent or nil voting which speaks of people’s firm trust in the democratic system as imperative for their overall welfare”, maintained Chief Election Officer, Pandurang K Pole while presenting the details on today’s polling in the fourth phase of ongoing Lok Sabha Polls.

The CEO attributed the great success behind this hugely increased polling percentage to improved security and law and order environment in the last 4-5 years, mobilization by 24 candidates and political parties, election awareness executed by Deputy Commissioners and CEO office through SVEEP activities, and more importantly voters strong belief that it is the ballot which can lead to sustainable development (Aman, Tarraki, and Khushhali).

The polling took place in 2,135 polling stations across the Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency with live webcasting at all the polling stations with voting starting at 7 am across the PC with long queues of enthusiastic voters waiting to cast their votes.

Demonstrating the spirit of democracy, the voters of all the districts showed up in record numbers to cast their votes in a significant show of their faith in the election process. Since the beginning of the poll at 7.00 am, the voters were seen queuing up at many polling stations across all 5 districts. Elderly, ladies and youths were seen enthusiastically exercising their right to vote in a peaceful environment.

The Chief Electoral Officer monitored the progress of voting across the Parliamentary Constituency from the Union Territory-level Command and Control Center established at ICCC- HMT, Bemina and CEO Office, Srinagar. It is pertinent to mention here that the Command and Control center has been working 24×7 at Srinagar as well as Jammu since 16 March to ensure free, fair, and inducement-free elections.

After two hours of polling, 5.16% of voting was recorded in the constituency at 09:00 am, 15.05% at 11.00 am, 23.80% at 01:00 pm, and 30.23% of voting was recorded at 3:00 pm. By 5:00 pm, 36.10% of polling was recorded in the constituency. Assembly segment-wise highest poll percentage was observed in Kangan with 58.80 % while Habbakadal registered the lowest polling of 14.05 %.

The gross voter turnout recorded in the past few elections in the Srinagar PC, as given by the CEO office, was 14.43 % in 2019, 25.86 % in 2019, 25.55  in 2009, 18.57 % in 2004, 11.93 % in 1999, 30.06 % in 1998, 40.94 % in 1996, no election was held in 1991 due to turmoil and 1989 remained uncontested.

The highest-ever poll percentage since the eruption of terrorism in Kashmir was recorded in year 1996 with 40.94 %. But in 1996 the geographical boundary of the Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency was smaller (only Srinagar, Budgam, and Ganderbal districts), however, now with the addition of districts and the increase in size of PC we can say it is the highest for Srinagar PC in today’s size, added the CEO.

At the time of culmination of polling, Assembly Segment wise tentative voter turnout in 2-Srinagar PC was Kangan 58.80 %, Ganderbal 49.48 %, Hazaratbal 28.28 %, Khanyar 24.24 %, Habbakadal 14.05 %, Lal Chowk 27.33 %, Channapora 22.97 %, Zadibal 29.41 %, Eidgah 26.81 %, Central Shalteng 26.43 %, Khansahib 50.35 %, Charar-e-Sharib 56.00 %, Chadoora 49.10 %, Pampore 38.01 %, Tral 40.29 %, Pulwama 43.39 %, Rajpora 45.79 %, Shopian 47.88 %. Also, the total migrant special PS polling was 39.09 % besides receiving 2832 postal votes (absentee, VFC, and received ETPBMS to date).

These figures against each Assembly Segment are tentative as postal votes polled during home voting, through EDC, Postal ballot, ETPBs, and migrant votes polled at special polling stations are not added.

More than 8,500 polling staff have performed poll duty and actual polling continued till 6.00 pm or the conclusion of the polling, whichever is later. At every polling station, basic minimum facilities of water, electricity, toilet, ramp, verandah/ waiting room etc were made. The wheelchairs and volunteers were provided as and when required. To ensure inclusive voting, 20 polling booths managed by women (also called pink polling stations), 18 polling booths managed by specially-abled persons, and 17 polling stations managed by youths were established. Also to spread the message about environmental concerns, 21 green polling stations were set up. To facilitate voter identification, apart from EPIC cards, other documents such as Adhar cards, Bank Passbooks, Driving licenses, PAN cards, Govt employee ID cards, etc documents were also allowed as per the Election Commission of India’s directions. Media facilitation was done through special passes for more than 600 journalists.

The democratic spirit has won over any kind of apprehension in the mind of the average Kashmiri voter. As per the guidance of CEC, Rajiv Kumar, the meticulous planning and execution of SVEEP activities was done which ultimately resulted in a significant increase in voter turnout. Every nukkad natak, street play, painting competition, and rally has translated into an increase in overall voter turnout. The spirit of democracy has triumphed and not even a single incident of stone pelting has been reported.

The enthusiasm among the political parties, who are an important stakeholder in the democratic process can be gauged from the fact that a record number of applications regarding various permissions had been received on the Suvidha portal. The General Elections to Lok Sabha in PC- SRINAGAR have been violence-free and have witnessed historic participation from the voters of Kashmir.

17140 Kashmiri migrant electors in Srinagar opted for voting at 26 Special Polling Stations established at Jammu (21), Udhampur (01), and Delhi (04). At these 26 special polling stations, there was a voter turnout of 39.09 %. A total of 6700 migrant voters exercised their voting rights, out of which, 213 voted in Delhi, 160 at Udhampur, and 6327 exercised their voting right at Jammu. It is also the first time that the migrant community has turned to vote in such large numbers.

The Chief Electoral Officer extended gratitude to all the voters for their historic participation in the festival of democracy. He also appreciated the Polling personnel including security staff, police officers, ARO, RO, and District Election Officers for their contribution to making the ongoing elections successful.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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