October 2018 News

'Gateway Town' Banihal Bucks Valley Trend, Sees 69% Voting

10 October 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Arteev Sharma

Jammu: The Muslim-majority Banihal town, which is considered as the 'gateway of Kashmir', on Wednesday recorded an overwhelming response to the local bodies polls with more than 69 per cent electorate turning up to strengthen the grass-roots democracy in the state. Banihal, which always affiliates itself with Kashmir and responds to every diktat of the separatists camp, virtually ignored the boycott call given by separatists, militants and two key players in state politics - NC and PDP. The overall voting percentage in Ramban district remained 79.53 per cent, with Ramban municipal committee (MC) registering highest voting of 83.34 per cent followed by Batote MC (81.11 per cent) and Banihal MC (69.01 per cent). Going by the statistics of district election authority, there were a total of 6,478 voters in all three MCs in Ramban district with seven municipal wards each. The Banihal MC had 1,879 voters out of which 1,696 (69.01 per cent) turned up to exercise their right to franchise. 'Given the high vote percentage, it is clear that the poll boycott had no impact in Ramban district, particularly Banihal town, where the people came out in large numbers to repose their faith in democracy. The high turnout in Banihal town has great significance as it always affiliated itself with Kashmir. The people have cast their votes for development and restoration of grass-roots democracy,' said an official who was associated with the election process. Similarly, the communally-sensitive mountainous Kishtwar town, with lone municipal committee, too registered an impressive 72.77 per cent turnout. Out of the total 9,125 voters, 6,641 voters cast their votes to decide the fate of 53 candidates in 13 municipal wards. Of them, 3,309 were men and 3,332 women.