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Power of Ballot

by
May 22, 2024
now ballot papers to have candidates photographs

The Baramulla Parliamentary constituency on Monday achieved a landmark voter turnout of approximately 59 per cent during the fifth phase of voting for the General Elections to the 18th Lok Sabha. This turnout is a notable increase from previous elections, with the last Lok Sabha election in 2019 recording only 37.41 per cent. This year’s election saw no boycott calls or incidents of intimidation, a stark contrast to past elections where fear and violence often played significant roles in voter turnout. The highest ever poll percentage in Baramulla since the eruption of militancy was 46.65 per cent in 1996, while the overall highest was 61.09 per cent in 1984. This year’s turnout, therefore, stands as the second highest in the democratic history of the constituency. Several factors contributed to this successful election. Improved security and law and order over the last 4-5 years played a crucial role. Additionally, mobilization efforts by 22 candidates and their respective political parties, as well as extensive election awareness campaigns conducted by Deputy Commissioners and the CEO’s office through Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) activities, were pivotal. These initiatives highlighted the importance of voting for sustainable development and the belief that the ballot is the path to peace and prosperity. Polling was conducted across 2,103 stations in the constituency, with live webcasting at all locations to ensure transparency and security. The presence of the voters at the booths was evident from the early hours, with long queues forming as soon as polling began at 7 a.m. Enthusiasm was high among all demographics, including the elderly, women, and youth, who were seen participating eagerly in a peaceful environment. The highest polling percentage was recorded in the Handwara assembly segment at 72 per cent, while the Gurez segment had the lowest at 40.82 per cent. The overall enthusiasm was reflected in the substantial turnout across various segments, indicating a widespread commitment to participating in the democratic process despite any regional differences. Efforts to ensure inclusive voting were evident, with 18 polling booths managed by women, 17 by specially-abled persons, and 18 by youths. Additionally, 18 green polling stations were set up to spread the message of environmental responsibility. Voter identification was facilitated through multiple documents, including EPIC cards, Aadhaar cards, bank passbooks, driving licenses, PAN cards, and government employee ID cards, ensuring no eligible voter was turned away. Notably, the election saw a good participation from the migrant community, with around 21,000 Kashmiri migrant electors voting at 26 special polling stations established in Jammu, Udhampur, and Delhi. The turnout for these migrants was around 32 per cent in Jammu and 50 per cent in Udhampur and Delhi. Therefore, Monday’s voter turnout in Baramulla Parliamentary constituency is a triumph of democracy. It is a major achievement, especially given the challenges faced by the region in the past, and a step towards development and peace.


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