May 2004 News

43.6 P.c. Turnout In J&K

10 May 2004
The Hindu
Luv Puri

Udhampur/Doda: The fourth phase of polling in Jammu and Kashmir ended today on a peaceful note with a voter turnout of 43.6 per cent. Talking to mediapersons here, the State Chief Electoral Officer, B.L. Namesh, said, 'polling in the Udhampur and Ladakh parliamentary constituencies was peaceful. The figures are right now provisional as the two segments are spread over a large area.' While Kargil in Ladakh recorded the highest turnout of 72 per cent Inderwal in Udhampur saw a 31 per cent turnout, the lowest. In the Udhampur parliamentary constituency, polling was held under a thick security blanket. The Director-General of Police, Gopal Sharma, who was also present at the press conference, termed it the most peaceful of all the phases. There were four minor militancy-related incidents. A great variation in terms of voter turnout was seen all over the constituency. For instance, at a polling booth in a girls school in Doda town, only 125 of the 1,136 votes had been cast by 11 a.m. At the Nowgam polling station in Banihal, three votes had been cast by 10 a.m. At the Ptehar polling station in the same area, 13 of the 883 votes were cast by 10.30 a.m. Later, polling picked up and the Doda and Banihal areas recorded a turnout of 38 per cent. In contrast, brisk voting was witnessed since morning in the militancy- infested Gool-Arnas, Gulabgarh and Mahore-Reasi areas of the Udhampur region. A 33 per cent turnout was registered in Udhampur town. In Kathua district, voting was relatively brisk with the border areas of Bombiya, Nagri and Hiranagar recording a high turnout. There were heated duels between Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party activists in Kathua following allegations of bogus voting by both parties. In the Panchari area of Udhampur, 13 persons were arrested for violation of the model code of conduct.


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