History repeats itself in Jammu and Kashmir

Majority boycotts vote in Srinagar, moderate turnout in Udhampur.

Srinagar: It was a repetition of history. Most Assembly segments of the Srinagar’s parliamentary constituency on Thursday witnessed a very low turnout in the face of separatists’ poll boycott call.

However, Udhampur, the other seat in Jammu and Kashmir for which voting was held in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections, recorded moderate to brisk turnout.

According to J&K’s Chief electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar, Udhampur constituency recorded 70.2 percent polling, with Udhampur district registering the highest of 74.8 percent polling. Srinagar, on the other hand, witnessed 14.1 per cent polling, with highest 21.5 per cent polling in Budgam and lowest 7 percent in Srinagar district.

In the by-election for the Srinagar seat held in April 2017, a voter turnout of 7.13 percent was recorded which was the lowest in thirty years. Unlike in the Srinagar constituency spread over three districts (Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam) where most polling booths wore a deserted look, the voters in Udhampur were more enthusiastic about voting than usual. Most parts of Kashmir Valley were shut on Thursday in response to acall issued by ‘Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL)’, an alliance of key separatist leaders, terming it “an illegitimate exercise under military occupation”.

It also said that elections held within the ambit of the Indian Constitution cannot be substitute to promised plebiscite.

In quite contrast to it, Udhampur gave a festive look on the occasion.

This has, once again, established the fact that the people of the Valley and those of Jammu region are not on the same wavelength on many issues including participation in elections.

Many of the voters who had lined up outside the polling stations in Srinagar constituency told this correspondent that they were going to exercise their franchise to chose from those in the fray a person who is capable of addressing their day to day problems. “Kashmir is very big and complex issue and its solution needs a great effort. Hence, it should be kept separate from elections be these for Parliament, the Assembly or local bodies,” said Abdul Majeed Mir, a voter in Budgam.

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