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Voting begins before sunrise; NC, PDP smell a rat

Srinagar, Oct 10: For reasons undisclosed, voting in phase II of the ongoing civic polls began at 6am—half an hour before sunrise.

The change in the timing by one hour was announced by the Chief Electoral Officer recently, without giving any reasons.

The move, however, attracted ridicule from the political parties, which questioned the genuineness of the entire electoral process.

“Why are polling booths open at 6AM? If I believed conspiracy theories I’d believe it’s because journalists won’t be around to verify the genuineness of voters at that very early hour,” NC working president, Omar Abdullah, tweeted late Tuesday evening.

Omar was reacting to a tweet by Press Trust of India’s Kashmir bureau chief, Inayat Jehangir, who had questioned the logic behind the rescheduling to such an early hour.

“This is perhaps for the first time in history of J&K that polling will start before daybreak. Second phase polling to kick off at 6 am and sunrise in Srinagar is at 6:32 am. What is the logic?” Inayat tweeted.

PDP leader, Naeem Akhtar, too took a jibe at the strange timing move with this tweet: “3rd phase could be 6 pm to 6 am to make it completely transparent.”

Noted journalist, Muzamil Jaleel, too put his point across on social media by simply sharing the timing of the sunrise in Srinagar while writing: “Polling starts at 6 am…”

Adding one more hour to the poll timing, which earlier was 7 am to 4 pm for phase I polls held on Monday, is baffling all and sundry.

On Monday, nearly 92 percent of the electorate in Kashmir preferred to boycott the polls and most of the booths had government forces and polling staff as the only people in and around them.

Wednesday followed the suit with most municipal wards in Kashmir coming up with single digit numbers as far as the turnout was concerned.

Chief Electoral Officer, Shaleen Kabra, did not respond at all to the continuous calls from The Kashmir Monitor.