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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Boycott call sees low turnout in Srinagar

The total voter turnout in the state was 45.7%. Udhampur, in the Jammu region, recorded a 70.2% turnout, down from 72% in 2014.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 18, 2019 23:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Srinagar/Udhampur
Lok Sabha elections 2019,India news,Srinagar
An Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard as Kashmir voters queue to cast their vote at a polling station during a second phase of elections in Srinagar on April 18, 2019. (AFP file photo)

The Udhampur and Srinagar Lok Sabha constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir voted in the second phase of the 17th general election on Thursday amid stray violence, a call for a complete shutdown by the Joint Resistance Leadership of separatist groups and suspension of mobile internet services.

The two constituencies voted amid heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces.

The total voter turnout in the state was 45.7%. Udhampur, in the Jammu region, recorded a 70.2% turnout, down from 72% in 2014.

The turnout in Srinagar, the heart of the Kashmir Valley, was 14.1%, up from 7.6% in the 2017 by-election.

While Udhampur voted for peace and development, Srinagar’s voters said they were voting to strengthen Kashmir’s special status.

“This vote is for saving article 370 and article 35 A. This vote is against communalism,” Liyaqat Ali, a driver, said after voting.

Article 370 of the Constitution assures autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. Article 35A restricts property ownership, government jobs and scholarships and other privileges to the state’s domiciled residents.

Chief electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar said polling was peaceful.

The effect of the boycott call was prominent at places in Srinagar city and Budgam district. In Budgam’s Nusrullahpora, only one of 321 registered voters had cast their votes by 9 am.

In downtown Srinagar, many polling booths drew zero turnout.

By 1.45 pm, no one had voted at the 15-Rajouri Kadal booth of Zadibal constituency. The polling booth has 368 voters.

In the 16-Gojwara booth of the same constituency, only two out of 725 had cast their votes.

“The people are angry as the bloodshed is not ending here,” said Mohammad Lateef, the polling agent of a political party.

A middle-aged businessman came out to vote in Nawhatta, where stone pelting is common. “We should not have voted but had there been our own people in government we would not have seen so much bloodshed,” he said.

First Published: Apr 18, 2019 23:46 IST

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