76% polling in Phase 5 as voting ends on high note

  • Tarun Upadhyay, Hindustan Times, Jammu
  • Updated: Dec 20, 2014 23:05 IST

The fifth and the final phase of the month-long elections to the state assembly saw 76% voting on Saturday in 20 constituencies in the Jammu region, the highest among the rest of the phases.

The figure is also 3% higher than the turnout in the assembly elections in these constituencies in 2008. "It was the highest ever polling in these constituencies," said chief electoral officer Umang Narula.

He said the overall turnout in the marathon state elections was 66%, five figures above the total polling in 2008.

Eleven constituencies recorded more than 80% polling. Gandhi Nagar constituency, which is considered a well-off locality, recorded the lowest - 60%.

The election on Saturday was the most important for the BJP and the Congress while Valley-based parties were all out to make inroads in the Hindu heartland.

The BJP, which has launched an ambitious 'Mission 44+' to form its first ever government in the state, banked upon these 20 seats, as 18 out of them have the Hindu community as the majority population. In 2008, the BJP had won 10 seats out of these constituencies.

The Congress, on the other hand won five seats from the 20 constituencies that went to polls on Saturday, but the party got a drubbing as it won no seat during the LS elections in May last.

The Congress is aiming hard to retain its vote share and of course to even increase it.

The polling in the fifth phase was largely peaceful except for a few clashes between party workers. There was no militancy-related violence.

Most of these constituencies fall along the international border and the line of control with Pakistan. Five of them were hit the most during a month-long firing between Indian and Pakistani armies which five people in Arnia sector. Thousands had to flee home due to the firing.

A total of 213 candidates were in the fray, including the deputy chief minister and four ministers - three of them of the Congress.

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