At 70%, Udhampur pips all earlier records

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Jammu
  • Updated: Apr 17, 2014 23:12 IST

The Udhampur parliamentary constituency, comprising six districts having nearly 14 lakh voters recorded nearly 70% polling, up 25% from the turnout recorded in 2009 parliamentary elections.

"The figures are of till 5pm and it's likely to go up as reports from far off places are still coming in," said chief electoral officer (CEO) Umang Narula.

Union minister and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is contesting elections for the first time from his home stateand is pitted against BJP's Jitendra Singh. BJP had lost the seat last time by 13,000 votes.

Live: 70 per cent polling recorded in Udhampur constituency

In Kathua district having 4 lakh voters, the largest among all districts, voters were seen moving to polling booths quite early in the morning. At some booths, more than 50% voting was recorded in the first four hours itself.

"The increase in high turnout is because of the extensive awareness campaign by the election commission. We created a secure environment," said special DGP (coordination) K Rajendra.

The communal violence in the Kishtwar district last year had polarised this constituency along communal lines especially in Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban and some parts of Udhampur and Reasi.

The increase in voting percentage is seen as an advantage to the BJP, but Azad is a political heavy-weight and commands respect among both the communities.

According to reports, Muslim votes, comprising about 30%, voted for Azad who also managed to poll a sizeable population of Hindu votes.

The BJP camp, however, feels that the jump in voting is beneficial to them.

"I have never voted for the BJP but today my children, studying in Class 7 asked me to vote for Modi. People are voting for change," said Mansi Sangra at Hiranagar.

The polling was peaceful. The election commission replaced six faulty EVMs in the entire constituency to restore the process.

How ready was the EC
1,098 hyper sensitive polling stations at 1,087 locations. Photo identity cards to 97% electorates.
Web casting done at 68 polling stations.
269 micro observers

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