Over 67% turnout in J&K second phase polls | india | Hindustan Times
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Over 67% turnout in J&K second phase polls

Ignoring separatists' call for poll boycott and braving freezing cold, over 67 per centof the nearly five-lakh-strong electorate exercised their franchise today, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2008 00:30 IST
Arun Joshi

People in six constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir, which went to the polls on Sunday, came out in large numbers to vote for a new government — and with a hope for a better future.

Election officials said in the evening that more than 67 per cent voting was recorded in the second phase of the polls. For the second time in seven days, huge numbers took part in the elections despite poll boycott calls by separatists and the fear of militants.

On November 17, 68 per cent polling was recorded in the first of the seven-phase polls.

Long queues were seen outside polling booths in Tullmulla, Lar and Ganderbal — once badly affected by militancy. Most voters wanted Governor’s rule to go and locals to rule. That’s how they hoped all their problems — from water and power supply to ration in the depots and jobs for the unemployed — would be solved. “These are the basic issues, these should be addressed, and that’s why we are voting,” said Yasmeena Rasool at Lar.

Ganderbal, where National Conference chief Omar Abdullah is locked in a multi-cornered contest, recorded 52 per cent voting — up from 35 per cent in 2002.

“It is a vote without fear,” said Javed Ahmad of Zakoora, the area bordering Hazratbal, which is known for the most revered Muslim shrine in the Valley. Nazir Ahmad Bhat of Gulab Bagh said: “There were no threat letters delivered to us this time, it has contributed to higher polling.”