April 2006 News

Highest turn-out in Bhadarwah

24 April 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar: Braving militants' threats and separatists' call of boycotting by- elections, Bhadarwah Assembly segment, where Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is contesting as Congress candidate, recorded highest ever turn-out in the polling. And more important of all, the polling was incident free. Out of total 90,462 eligible voters, over 76 percent exercised their franchise to elect their representative. Only two candidates are in the fray for this VIP Assembly segment. Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has field a greenhorn-Dhantar Singh alias Koushal Kotwal against Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is first time contesting election from his native area. Bhadarwah assembly segment first time witnessed such a huge turn out. In 1996 elections 66.73 percent voters cast their votes while as in the previous Assembly polls when Congress candidate Mohammed Sharief Niaz had emerged victorious, the voting percentage was 54.25 percent. Worthwhile to mention here that Mohammed Sharief Niaz vacated this seat for Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad who is presently a Rajya Sabha member. Mr Azad didnot visit this Assembly segment during electioneering and it is his chief election agent Niaz, who has been managing all affairs. Record turn out in Bhadarwah has been considered as significant as not only separatists had given a call of poll boycott, militants for quite some days have been repeatedly trying to disrupt the political process by throwing grenades and executing some attacks. Militants had also threatened people against casting votes. Pertinent to mention here that out of total number of 112 polling stations in Bhadarwah assembly segment, 44 were hyper-sensitive and 48 were sensitive. Although the voting started at 7 am this morning, people were seen outside the polling booths much before beginning of the polling. Enthusiasm of the voters was gauged from the fact that about half a dozen centenarians cast their votes along with their great grand children. Mangi Devi of 108 years exercised her franchise in Dungey area while as 105 years old Mahtaba Begum, wife of Shamas and Zeena Begum wife of late Allah Rakh cast their votes in Government Degree College Bhaderwah. Age failed to deter enthusiasm of centenarian Mir Alam Mir. 111 year old Mir exercised his franchise in polling booth number 40 of Kulshera area which is located on Bhadarwah-Doda road. Similarly Lal Chand, 103, cast his vote in Ghata polling station. Briefing media persons this evening after completion of the polling, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), B R Sharma said that voting was incident free in Bhadarwah assembly segments. Mr Sharma said that adequate arrangements were made for conducting free and fair elections in all these four assembly segments. He said that out of total 90,462 voters, 46148 were males and 44314 were females besides 758 service electors. Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Udhampur-Doda Range, Lalat Indu Mohanty, incharge Superintendent of Police (SP) Doda, Varinder Sharma and S P Bhaderwah Ashok Sharma were camping in Bhaderwah to ensure free and fair polling.


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