Violence in JK; 12% polling
Polling began on a low key in all the ten northern states except Rajasthan for 77 Lok Sabha seats on Monday.
About 10 to 12 per cent of the 25.15 crore electorate cast their votes in the first three hours of the final phase of Lok Sabha elections to 182 seats spread over 16 states and union territories amidst stray incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and West Bengal which left one person dead and three injured.
President A P J Abdul Kalam was the first to cast his vote at a polling booth in Presidential estate falling under New Delhi constituency.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi exercised her franchise at the Nirman Bhawan polling booth in the same constituency from where Union Minister Jagmoham is pitted against her party' Ajay Maken.
The final round of elections decides electoral fate of 2,132 candidates prominent among them being CPI(M) veteran Somnath Chatterjee (Bolpur), Deputy Speaker in Lok Sabha P M Sayeed (Lakshadweep), Union Ministers Jagmohan (New Delhi), B C Khanduri (Garhwal), MamataBanerjee (Kolkata-South), S S Dhindsa (Sangrur), SatyanarayanJatiya (Ujjain), Sahib Singh Verma (Outer Delhi), I D Swami (Karnal) and Vijay Goel (Delhi-Sadar).
An Akali Dal (Badal) leader Jagpal Singh Sohali, who recently switched over from Akali Dal (Mann) group, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Ludhiana in Punjab while on way to cast his vote.
In a bid to disrupt polling, militants fired and lobbed grenades from hill tops in Baderwah in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district falling under Udhampur constituency. No casualty was reported in the attacks.
Polling underway in J&K
Polling began on a low key in two Lok Sabha constituencies of Udhampur and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir where 15,31,398 electorate will decide the fate of 24 candidates who are in fray in the fourth and final phase of elections today.
Polling commenced in all the three districts of Doda, Kathua and Udhampur in Udhampur constituency at 0700 hours amid tight security in view of several explosions in some areas of the constituency during past few days.
More than 200 companies of para-military troops, besides local police have been deployed in the constituency to ensure free, fair and smooth polling, official sources said here.
Voters were going to their respective polling stations in Kathua and Udhampur districts with great enthusiasm to exercise their right of franchise, they said adding, however, very few voters were seen at the polling stations in Doda where a number of blasts had taken place during last few days of the campaigning.
The constituency spreading over 17 assembly segments has a total electorate of 13,48,721, including 6,31,880 female voters for whom 1655 polling stations have been set up. Of the total polling stations, 520 are hyper-sensitive and 758 are sensitive in the constituency.
Though there are twenty candidates in the fray in the constituency, however, the keen contest is between the Union Minister of State for Defence Chaman Lal Gupta and the Congress nominee and state's Minister for Health and Medical Education Choudhary Lal Singh.
Among others in the fray are National Conference candidate Khalid Najeeb Suhrawardy and J-K National Panthers Party Chairman Bhim Singh.