Other States

"It is immaterial to us who wins or loses"

(Top) Voters queue up at a booth in Bokaro, Jharkhand on Sunday. (Bottom): A huge turnout in Shangus, South Kashmir. Photos: Manob Chowdhury, Nissar Ahmad

(Top) Voters queue up at a booth in Bokaro, Jharkhand on Sunday. (Bottom): A huge turnout in Shangus, South Kashmir. Photos: Manob Chowdhury, Nissar Ahmad  

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Voter turnout in the fourth and penultimate phase of the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the last one for the Kashmir valley, was 49 per cent on Sunday, higher than the figures in 2002 and 2008.

Eight constituencies each in Srinagar and Anantnag and two in the Jammu province went to the polls. Anantnag in south Kashmir saw a repetition of long queues, though there was a marginal decrease in the turnout. The turnout in Srinagar was only 28 per cent.

At the eight constituencies of Srinagar, always kept for the last phase so that its boycott and low voter-turnout does not affect the rest of the Valley in subsequent phases, people trickled in small numbers to the booths.

There were reports of stone-throwing in some areas like Maisuma and in several places in Srinagar’s old city during the day. “We don’t want to vote and we have not even registered ourselves as voters,” a group of young men in Srinagar’s downtown area told The Hindu. “It is immaterial to us who wins or loses, because we live under an oppressive regime and whoever we choose cannot help us to escape from its clutches.”

It is in Srinagar’s Habbakadal constituency that the BJP has the best chance to win a seat in the Kashmir valley. “The last thing we want is the BJP winning from here, considering what they have done in Gujarat and with Babri Masjid and now all these Muslims being forcibly converted to Hinduism,” Sharief-u-din Ahmad (51), told The Hindu. Ahmad, who had cast his vote after 23 years, said it was only to stop the BJP. “I hope a thousand more people cast their vote so that we are sure that the BJP does not win.”

In Sonwar, from where Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is contesting for the first time, the turnout jumped from 36.61 per cent in the 2008 elections to 44.17 per cent.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:43:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jammu-and-kashmir-assembly-polls-2014/article6691415.ece

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