Anantnag turnout low, voting peaceful

Polling remained peaceful on Wednesday amid a low turnout of voters in Anantnag assembly constituency of Jammu and Kashmir where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is contesting a crucial electoral battle amid boycott call by separatist groups and militant outfits.
An official of the Election Commission said that 28 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 3 p.m. Earlier, fewer people lined up outside polling stations as the voting began at 7 a.m. A mere four per cent turnout was recorded during the first one hour. But the morning’s shy trickle of voters gradually changed into small queues in rural areas even as the turnout in urban areas was still very low.
In the 2014 assembly elections, the constituency recorded an overall voter turnout of nearly 40 per cent.
Peace prevailed in the town and adjoining areas though militants and separatists had asked people not to vote. “Voting is continuing at all the 102 polling stations smoothly so far and there has been no militancy related incident anywhere,” the official said.
In both the urban and rural segments, women voters outnumbered men, officials said. At the Khanabal High School in Anantnag town, where two polling centres have been set up, women in ‘burqa’ formed the bulk of voters. The story was the same at Rambirpora, Krangsoo, Kehribal and several other places. It seemed women were determined to defy the separatists’ calls to boycott the elections.
After she was sworn-in as Jammu and Kashmir’s first woman chief minister on April 4, it became mandatory for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader to become a member of either house of the bicameral legislature. Anantnag was represented in the 87-member assembly by her father and late Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed till he passed away on January 7.
Police and paramilitary forces were deployed in strength to prevent militants from interfering with the election process. The army was deployed in what is known as “area domination” duty in the periphery of the constituency to ensure an incident-free poll. There was a complete shutdown in Anantnag town following the boycott call.
Wednesday was declared a public holiday in Anantnag constituency. Traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, which passes through this town, moved normally. Movement of vehicles carrying tourists to the Pahalgam health resort was also normal. Mehbooba Mufti visited a number of polling stations on Wednesday. But she refused to speak to the media. At Rambirpora polling station, where journalists sought her comments, she said: “I will speak to you when I have something to say.”
There are seven other candidates in the fray, including Hilal Ahmad Shah of the Congress and Iftikhar Hussain Misgar of the National Conference. Speaking to IANS after voting, few people aired doubts about Mehbooba Mufti’s victory. “We know she will not solve international issues but will definitely address unemployment, education, healthcare and give us better roads, and she will also empower women,” said Shafeeqa Begum, 45.
Shafeeqa, however, believes – like many others – that a narrow victory margin could dent Mehbooba Mufti’s image as a popular chief minister whose PDP has its base in the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam. The Muftis belong to the neighbouring Bijbehara town. Voting started at 7 a.m. and will end at 6 p.m. The votes will be counted on June 25 and the results will be announced the same day. Kashmir by-poll turnout low, but voting remains peaceful (Second Lead)
But the morning’s shy trickle of voters gradually changed into small queues in rural areas even as the turnout in urban areas was still very low.
Statement to the Press
33.84% polling result of muscle power, money power. Congress
Congress today blamed PDP for using muscle power during polling in Anantnag today. The Party also accused Coalition Partners for using official machinery and goons to gain votes in Anantnag.
Despite having crossed all limits in just concluded Anantnag By Elections today, the PDP BJP Coalition Partners could not ensure the percentage of votes in the By Election as was expected by them, which is indicative of the resentment against PDP for having betrayed people for power.
Congress also accused PDP for using muscle power during voting inorder to secure votes for RSS backed Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, people have lost faith in PDP because of the betrayal by this Party, as a result, the Party used official machinery and goons for securing votes, which has exposed it again before the people.
PDP from the day one has been accusing other parties for indulging in booth capturing and using muscle power, but the same PDP crossed all limits inorder to save their already dented image. It is surprising that Chief Minister herself visited almost all polling booth to ensure that goons be given free hand to secure votes for her.a
Lashing out at PDP BJP Coalition for violation of model code of conduct, the Spokesperson charged PDP for using official machinery in just concluded by-elections.
The Spokesperson also thanked those people of Anatnag who voted against the PDP, thereby displaying their anger against the anti-people and wrong policies of the PDP.
The Spokesperson further said that everyone knows that PDP was more frightful about the outcome of election results as a result the party used money power, muscle power and official machinery to secure votes.

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