Moderate Voting In J&K Despite Separatists' Boycott Call

7 May 2009
The Hindu

Srinagar: In a rebuff to separatists, moderate polling was today witnessed in most of parts of the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, with 10 per cent of the 11 lakh electorate exercising their franchise till noon. Chrar-e-Sharief assembly segment of Budgam district registered the highest 25.21 per cent of polling, while Habbakadal segment of Srinagar district, a stronghold of Hurriyat and other separatists who had called for a poll boycott, recorded the lowest turnout of 0.80 per cent, election officials said. Ahead of the commencement of polling amid tight security, a petrol bomb was hurled at a polling booth set up inside a private school on the outskirts of Srinagar city that exploded in its compound. No one was hurt in the incident. Polling started on a dull note at 7 AM despite the sun breaking a four-day spell of cloudy weather, but long queues started building up outside the booths as the day progressed. Kangan assembly segment in Ganderbal district also recorded heavy polling with 25 per cent of voters casting their ballots followed by Ganderbal (16), Budgam (12.04),Khansahib (11), Beerwah (8.00), Chadoora (7.79), Batmaloo (7.50), Zadibal (5.80), Sonawar (5.27), Hazratbal (5.20), Idgah (4.00), Amirakadal (2.32) and Khanyar (2.20). In Sringar city, where only 21.93 per cent of the electorate cast their votes in the last assembly elections against the state average of 65 per cent, voting was dull with just one vote being cast at three polling booths in Kothibagh in the heart of the city. Today's polling will seal the fate of 15 candidates including the National Conference President Farooq Abdullah.