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LS polls: Baramulla records 59% turnout

May 21, 2024
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Srinagar: Baramulla scripted a new history when more than 59 percent turned out to exercise their right to franchise in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections.

It is the highest-ever polling percentage in the constituency for any parliamentary election since 1984.

Forty years ago, Baramulla had recorded a voter turnout of 61 percent.

Chief Electoral Officer Pandurang Kondbarao Pole said that the Baramulla Parliamentary constituency recorded approximately 59 percent voter turnout, marking the highest polling percentage in the democratic history of the constituency.

This milestone was achieved without any reports of violence throughout the polling day. Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, Pole highlighted the significant achievement of the Baramulla constituency.

“The people of Baramulla have made history today with the highest poll percentage ever recorded for the parliamentary seat and an election day free from violence,” Pole stated.

He said all the 2,103 polling stations were monitored by CCTV surveillance to ensure smooth conduct. Despite some complaints of slow polling, investigations revealed that the polling staff was working diligently and effectively.

“There were no untoward incidents reported anywhere, and zero violence was witnessed,” Pole emphasized.

The Handwara assembly segment recorded the highest polling percentage at 67.5 percent, while the Gurez assembly segment saw the lowest turnout.

Pole provided a historical comparison of polling percentages for the Baramulla Parliamentary constituency: 2019: 34.57% 2014: 39.13% 2009: 41.84% 2004: 35.65% 1999: 27.79% 1998: 41.94% 1996: 46.65%.

National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah, People’s Conference President Sajad Gani Lone, and jailed head of the Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) Sheikh Abdul Rashid alias Engineer Rashid are among the key candidates in the fray.

In 2019, Baramulla had recorded a voter turnout of 34.6 percent. In the 2014 general elections, the poll percentage was 39.14 percent.

Earlier in the day, voters thronged in large numbers to cast their votes in Soibugh, the hometown of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin. The town lies in the Budgam district of central Kashmir and is part of the Baramulla constituency.

“The situation has improved and fear faded and that is a good omen for democracy. The people mostly did not vote in the past due to the threat to their lives but, this time, brisk voting is taking place without interference from any quarters,” Abdul Ahad Bhat, a local villager, said.

Mohammad Yawar, another voter, said unemployment is one of the biggest issues the people are facing, along with increased power bills.

Jammu and Kashmir are voting for the first time after the Narendra Modi government abrogated the special status for the erstwhile state following the abrogation of Article 370. The counting of votes will take place on June 4.

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