The polling percentage in Kashmir has been low since the 1989 polls, which were held after the allegedly ‘rigged' 1987 assembly polls: In 1999, it was 14.3%, in 2004, 15% and in 2009, 27%. The corresponding national figures were 60%, 58% and 58.7%. Interestingly, the turnout was as high as 68% in the 1984 Lok Sabha polls, 4 percentage points above the national record of 64%, which would probably be broken this year if we go by the trend so far. The reasons for such a low turnout in Kashmir are not far to seek: The fear of violence and the election boycott call of the separatists, and, in many cases, people possibly don't relate to the Lok Sabha elections as they do to civic and assembly elections when they turn out in full strength in the hope that their grievances will be redressed.
For the Indian State, the polling figures in Kashmir should be a reason for concern because it shows that the momentum that was generated after the confidence-building measures suggested by the Centre-appointed interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir, led by Dileep Padgaonkar, in 2011, has now been completely lost, thanks to the lack of political unity.