Grenade attack in Shopian, empty booths in Pulwama as Anantnag turnout tanks
Ladakh and two districts of the volatile Anantnag constituency polled in the fifth phase of the ongoing general elections in Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday.Updated: May 06, 2019, 23:15 IST
Ladakh and two districts of the volatile Anantnag constituency polled in the fifth phase of the ongoing general elections in Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday.
While 71.1%voted in Ladakh, the segments of Pulwama and Shopian, which fall under the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, registered a dismal turnout, the worst so far.
Anantnag voted over three phases due to security concerns and only 2.38%opted to cast their ballot from Shopian and Pulwama in South Kashmir on Monday. In the last Lok Sabha polls in 2014, Shopian and Pulwama had recorded a 28.9% turnout.
With this, polling in the state’s six seats come to an end.
Enthusiastic voters thronged polling stations in Leh and Kargil districts. In contrast, most of the polling stations wore a deserted look in Shopian and Pulwama.
Incidents of violence were reported starting Sunday night, including a grenade attack at a polling booth and stone pelting in the two South Kashmir districts, which are also a stronghold of the People’s Democratic Party. Its president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti is in the fray.
J&K chief electoral officer Shalendra Kumar said that two grenades were lobbed towards polling stations on Monday, out of which one exploded.
As many as 30,000 security personnel were deployed for the last phase of elections. Three buildings were set on fire by unidentified men on Sunday evening and members of the polling staff were attacked in some areas.
Roads and highways were dotted with security personnel and polling booths were heavily manned by CRPF men. Mine proof vehicles were placed outside polling stations and the Army’s Quick Reaction Teams were also on alert at various places.
Voting took place amid a shutdown call extended by separatists Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) for Pulwama and Shopian district. As a precaution, mobile internet services were suspended and train services between Baramulla and Banihal were also cancelled.
This is the first time when three phase polling was held for a single Lok Sabha seat in J&K. On April 23, in the first phase of polling in Anantnag district 13.8% voting was recorded and 10.32% in second phase on April 29.
The election is crucial for the political future of Mehbooba Mufti and her party.