August 2005 News

75 Pc Polling In Zanaskar

25 August 2005
The Daily Excelsior

Srinagar: More than 75 per cent voters today exercised their franchise in the by-elections to the Zanaskar Assembly constituency in Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said. The polling, which began at 0700 hrs, was very low early morning and started picking up after 1200 hrs. The incident-free voting ended at 1600 hrs. Reports said a good voter turn-out was recorded in hilly and inaccessible areas. Both men and women came out in large numbers to cast their votes. About 70 polling stations had been set up in the constituency which has 21,992 voters, including 11,603 female electors. While the maximum number of 1200 voters in the segment were in link, a polling station had been set up for ten voters at Kheenu. In all, five candidates were in the fray for the Muslim-dominated Zanaskar Assembly constituency. However, an independent candidate, Ghulam Mohammad, retired from the contest in favour of ruling coalition's nominee Ghulam Mohammad Raza. The National Conference (NC) has fielded Syed Abbas while the other two contestants are Mohammad Amin and Tsering Gylpo, both independents. The sources said the authorities had pressed into service helicopters to transport Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to the inaccessible polling stations in the constituency. Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, who recently visited the area, expressed satisfaction over the poll arrangements. The by-elections necessitated due to the death of sitting member Mohammad Abbas of the NC. The late NC leader had won both the 1996 and 2002 Assembly polls from the seat, which was carved out of the Kargil district in 1995. In the 2002 elections, the NC leader had defeated his nearest rival Akhoon Hassan of the Congress. The campaigning for the by-elections lacked lustre. The counting of votes will be taken up on August 31.


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