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Encouraging Turnout

May 15, 2024

The fourth phase of voting for the General Elections to the 18th Lok Sabha witnessed a remarkable surge in participation, with a peaceful conclusion marked by an impressive 37.99% voter turnout across the districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal, Pulwama, Budgam, and Shopian. This was the first general election in the valley after the abrogation of Article 370 and the enactment of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. Polling personnel including security personnel worked tirelessly to ensure that an atmosphere of calm, peace and festivities welcomed voters at the polling stations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi applauded voters in Srinagar constituency for an encouraging turnout. “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 the youth,” he said in a post on X. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and the political parties too congratulated the people of Srinagar constituency on the “historic” voter turnout. Voting percentage for the previous Srinagar Lok Sabha election in 2019 stood at 14.43%. The surge in voter turnout was attributed to several factors, including improved security and law enforcement measures over the past few years, extensive mobilization efforts by 24 candidates and political parties, and robust election awareness campaigns conducted by Deputy Commissioners and the CEO office through SVEEP activities. Polling was conducted across 2,135 polling stations in the Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency, with live webcasting ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the voting process, which commenced at 7 am. The turnout demonstrated a vibrant display of democracy, with voters from all districts queuing up in record numbers to exercise their right to vote. Elderly, women, and youths were observed enthusiastically participating in a peaceful electoral environment, showcasing their commitment to the democratic process. Monitoring the voting progress from the Union Territory-level Command and Control Center at ICCC-HMT, Bemina, and the CEO Office in Srinagar, the Chief Electoral Officer ensured the smooth conduct of the electoral proceedings, which continued till 6:00 pm. The voter turnout witnessed incremental growth throughout the day, with 5.16% voting recorded at 9:00 am, rising to 36.10% by 5:00 pm. Kangan Assembly segment recorded the highest polling percentage at 58.80%, while Habbakadal registered the lowest at 14.05%. Special arrangements were made to ensure inclusive voting, with polling stations managed by women, specially-abled individuals, and youth, alongside green polling stations to promote environmental awareness. The enthusiasm among political parties was evident, with a record number of applications for permissions received on the Suvidha portal. The elections remained violence-free, with the democratic spirit amid no boycott calls. The participation of Kashmiri migrant voters at special polling stations in Jammu, Udhampur, and Delhi also marked a major milestone, with a turnout of 39.09%, reflecting their active engagement in the democratic process. Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri – the other two seats of Kashmir Valley – will vote in the next two rounds of Lok Sabha polls.

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