Poll official killed, voting in Kashmir's Anantnag 28 percent
A polling official was killed and five others injured in an attack by separatist gurrillas after polling Thursday in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag parliamentary constituency, where the turnout rose after a sluggish start to end at 28 percent, officials said.
Addressing a media conference in Srinagar, state's chief electoral officer Umang Narula said 28 percent votes were polled in the south Kashmir constituency - a marginal improvement over the 27 percent recorded in 2009.
Despite recent terror attacks, boycott calls, stone pelting and announcements over loudspeakers from mosques by separatist sympathizers to boycott the polls, an increased number of voters came out in the afternoon in the constituency, that has 13.01 lakh voters.
The contest sees Mehboob Beg of the ruling National Conference (NC) seeking re-election against Mehbooba Mufti, president of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
PDP patron and former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba cast their vote at a polling station in their hometown Bijbehara in the afternoon.
Narula said Pulwama district polled 6.32 percent voting, Shopian 20.43 percent, Kulgam 36.68 percent and Anantnag district 37.76 percent.
"Polling stations were set up in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi for 4,500 migrant voters and 40 percent votes were cast at these polling booths," the CEO said.
"Webcasting of 65 polling stations was done by the election commission to monitor the day's poll process in Anantnag Lok Sabha seat," he added,
Although the CEO said the poll process was by far and large peaceful, reports came in about the guerrilla attack on a poll party in Shopian district when he was addressing the media.
One polling officer was killed and five people injured when guerrillas attacked a polling party escorted by security forces returning from Nagbal polling station in Shopian, a senior police officer told IANS. The injured included two Central Reserve Police Force troopers, a local policeman and two members of the polling party..
However, a heavy deployment of security forces and area domination ahead of the voting process had prevented separatists from carrying out any other attack in the constituency where authorities had been keeping their figures crossed in the aftermath of killings of three village headmen, two in Tral and one in Awantipora area of Pulwama segment.
Despite there being 10 other candidates in the fray, the main contest is between Beg and Mehbooba.
(Posted on 25-04-2014)