Srinagar bypoll: Only 2% voter turnout recorded after repolling in Kashmir
On Thursday there was only one incident of stone-pelting by youths, officials said. Authorities had deployed over 20,000 security personnel to ensure smooth re-polling in Budgam district after Sunday’s violence.
A mere 2% turnout was witnessed in the re-polling held in 38 polling stations under the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, making it the lowest percentage in the state’s history, election officials said.
The overall percentage in the entire constituency now stood at 7.13%, the officials said.
The situation was largely peaceful during Thursday’s electoral exercise which was called for by the Election Commission because of large-scale violence last Sunday when balloting was held in the constituency.
“Only 709 of the 34,169 voters exercised their franchise across all the 38 polling stations by the time the polling ended at 4 pm,” an election official said.
No votes were polled in Khansahib assembly segment while only three votes were cast in Budgam segment and 84 in Chrar- e-Sharief segment, the official said.
Beerwah segment saw a turnout of 362 voters and Chadoora saw 261 voters since 7 am.
Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir Shantmanu said the polling was at an all-time low but it was “absolutely incident-free and no untoward incident took place”.
Barring a couple of minor incidents of stone-pelting, the polling on Thursday passed by peacefully, the official added.
Two incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Soibugh and Nasrullahpora areas of Budgam district but the miscreants were chased away by the security forces, the official said.
Counting of votes will be undertaken on April 15.
On Sunday, eight people were killed and over 100 security personnel were injured after mobs took to the streets at different places across the Lok Sabha constituency straddling Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal districts.
The mobs even set ablaze a polling station and attempting to set afire two others.
There was an altercation between opposition National Congress and ruling PDP workers at Badran in Beerwah area over allegations of bogus voting, the officials said.
The issue was later resolved with the intervention of the polling staff and security personnel posted on duty there.
In the wake of Sunday’s experience, police and paramilitary forces had been deployed in large numbers.
Electoral officer Shantamanu also said: “It came to my notice that in some polling booths, polling agents were also not there. They showed up and left afterwards. This thing was brought to the notice of the political parties also in between.”
About the bypolls in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, which were to be held on Wednesday but were postponed till May 25, Shantmanu told NDTV, “We will examine the (security) situation at that point of time but I don’t think this much of deployment will be needed at any point of time in future because this was certainly much larger deployment.”