NC, PDP term healthy Srinagar poll percentage ‘expression against Centre’s Aug. 5 moves’

Srinagar witnessed nearly 38% voter turnout in the Lok Sabha election held on May 13, the first election since the scrapping of Article 370 in 2019.

Updated - May 14, 2024 10:17 pm IST

Published - May 14, 2024 05:12 pm IST - Srinagar

Voters queue up to cast their ballots at a polling station in Srinagar during the fourth phase of voting in the Lok Sabha election on May 13, 2024.

Voters queue up to cast their ballots at a polling station in Srinagar during the fourth phase of voting in the Lok Sabha election on May 13, 2024. | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

J&K’s regional parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC), on Tuesday, said the second highest voter turnout of 38% since 1989 in the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat on May 13 was people’s expression “against the Centre’s moves of August 5, 2019”.

PDP president and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti described the healthy voting pattern as “people’s way to convey a message to the Centre on the decisions of August 5, 2019”.  “The decisions of the Center were not accepted by the people of Kashmir,” she said.

She urged voters “to vote en masse in the remaining two phases of Parliamentary elections in Kashmir”. “Each vote cast for the PDP would be a clear message against the arbitrary and unconstitutional decisions made on August 5, 2019, and a demand for their reversal,” Ms. Mufti said.

She alleged that the BJP-led dispensation and its henchmen in Kashmir “were trying hard to make people stay away from polling”. “They are well aware the votes would go to the PDP alone,” she said.

Tanvir Sadiq, political adviser of National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah, said the turnout was “encouraging”. “It could have been higher had there been no deliberate attempts to slow down voting on flimsy grounds,” he said.

Mr. Sadiq said the attempt by the BJP to attribute it to their actions of August 5, 2019 was “a misrepresentation”.

“Why didn’t they (the BJP) field candidates in the three Kashmir Valley seats? If they’re taking credit for the turnout, shouldn’t they have competed to substantiate their assertion? Actually, this turnout contradicts their argument. It signifies a decision contrary to what they profess. People are recognising the importance of voting. It indicated a growing awareness of Parliamentary elections, typically characterised by low participation, which could result in increased turnout in the forthcoming Assembly election,” Mr. Sadiq said.

Referring to the turnout in Srinagar, Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) president Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “I was expecting 80 to 90% polling in Srinagar but it was just an average polling. It didn’t reflect either people being happy or angry with the abrogation of Article 370,” he said.

Emphasising the need to “steer clear of misleading rhetoric”, Mr. Azad said, “There is a need for informed voting. The Srinagar seat saw lower-than-anticipated numbers because of widespread disillusionment with the current government.”

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