Srinagar, April 13
Only 2 per cent polling was recorded during repoll at 38 polling stations in central Kashmir district of Budgam in Srinagar Parliamentary constituency amid unprecedented security arrangements following strike call given by separatists.
“Just 2 per cent voters exercised their franchise during repoll in 38 polling station in Budgam in Srinagar Lok Sabha seat,” an official told .
The re-polling began at 0700 and was concluded at 1600 hrs.
Meanwhile, life came to a grinding halt as business and other activities were crippled and traffic was off the roads due to strike called by separatists today in Budgam. Even though separatists had called for strike only in election bound areas in the district, shops and business establishments were closed and traffic was off the roads in entire Budgam. However, very few private vehicles could be seen plying on some interior routes.
Authorities had imposed restrictions under Section 144 CrPC in Badgam district, barring where polling will be held, to prevent any law and order.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) had announced re-poll at these polling stations following violence that left 8 persons dead and over 100 others injured in security force and police action on poll day on April 9 in the constituency. Seven deaths took place in Badagam while another in Ganderbal. More than 150 security personnel were also injured in the stone pelting.
However, former Chief Minister and working president of opposition National Conference (NC) Omar Abdullah questioned holding of re-poll in these polling stations when bypoll in Anantnag constituency on April 12 was deferred despite protests by opposition.
Over 7 per cent voters exercised their franchise out of of 13.73 lakh electorate on April 9 in the constituency spread over 15 assembly segments in three districts of Srinagar, Badgam and Ganderbal.
The ECI has announced that counting of votes would be held as per schedule on April 15 despite deferring Anantnag polls.
According to District Magistrate Budgam restrictions under Section-144 shall remain in force in the district today, except for those areas where re-poll will be held.
Hundreds of security forces have been deployed in the district, particularly in the areas where re-poll will be held to maintain law and order.
Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) J&K, Shantmanu said that adequate arrangements of security and videography have been made for re-polling at 38 polling stations .
He said that the poll process at all the polling stations will be videographed, besides one micro-observer from central government offices will also be deputed for each polling station where re-polling is being conducted. He said that all other arrangements mandated by the Election Commission of India for ensuring free and fair polls have also been put in place.
The re-polling began at 0700 and will conclude at 1600 hrs
District Election Officer (Deputy Commissioner), Budgam, today accorded sanction to the grant of paid holiday today in areas falling within the jurisdiction of district Budgam in favour of Government Employees/Semi-Government employees/Industrial workers who are voters in the areas going for re-poll on the said date so that they can cast their votes.
Meanwhile, the Returning Officer (RO), Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency, Dr Farooq Ahmed Lone reviewed the arrangements made for counting of votes on April 15, 2017 at S K International Convention Complex (SKICC).
Former chief minister and president of the opposition National Conference (NC) Dr Farooq Abdullah and ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nominee Nazir Ahmad Khan are among nine candidates seeking mandate from the constituency.
The other candidates are Bikram Singh of Liberal Democratic Party, Chetan Sharma of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, Sajad Reshi of Rashtriya Samajwadi Party (S), and independent candidates Sajjad Hussain Beigh, Ghulam Hassan Dar, Farooq Ahmad Dar and Mehraj Khurshid Malik.
However, the main contest is between Dr Abdullah and Mr Khan.
Among the 15 assembly segments, seven are represented by PDP, seven by NC and one PDF.
The constituency, which has around 13.73 lakh electorate, remained a stronghold of NC since 1975 when the party (NC) started participating in the democratic process following the Indira-Sheikh accord.
However, in 1996, the seat was won by Congress candidate Ghulam Mohammad Mir when NC did not field any candidate as majority NC leaders, including Dr Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, were living outside the valley due to militancy.
Before 1967, members to Lok Sabha were being nominated from Jammu and Kashmir.
Former prime minister of the state Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was the first to represent the Srinagar constituency in 1967.
However, in 1971 Shamim Ahmad Shamim, an independent candidate supported by “Mahaz Raishumari Front” headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah won from the constituency.
Later after the Indira-Sheikh accord in 1975, Begum Akbar Jehan, mother of Dr Abdullah represented the seat in 1977 as NC nominee.
Abdul Rashid Kabli of NC represented the seat in 1984 and Mohammad Shafi Bhat (NC) in 1989. Congress candidate Ghlam Mohammad Mir won in 1996. Meanwhile, Omar Abdullah represented the constituency in 1998, 1999 and 2004.
In 2009, Dr Abdullah won from the constituency as NC nominee and become minister in the UPA government.
However, Dr Abdullah lost to Mr Karra of PDP in 2014 by a margin of about 50,000 votes.
Mr Karra, who was opposed to alliance with BJP, finally resigned from PDP and Lok Sabha to join Congress with the result the seat became vacant.
Even after the defeat, Dr Abdullah announced that he will contest elections as NC candidate till he is alive.