Brisk voting in Ladakh, sluggish in Baramulla
There was low voter turnout Wednesday in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla constituency while brisk balloting took place in Ladakh.
Queues of voters, both men and women, could be seen even before the voting started at 7 a.m. at the Goma polling station in Kargil district of Ladakh's Lok Sabha seat.
People also turned up early in the morning in Leh town, Nubra and Zanskar assembly segments of Ladakh.
In Rabirpur polling station of Thiksa village, 20 km from Leh town, 20 votes had been cast in the first half hour after voting started at 7 a.m.
In housing colony polling station in Leh town, voters trooped in early morning to exercise their franchise.
In 2009 elections, 71.86 percent votes had been polled in Ladakh.
Poll officials, some of whom spoke to IANS, said they are expecting the poll percentage to increase further this time given the enthusiasm of the voters.
"They have turned out in large numbers to cast their votes. We expect the poll percentages to cross the 2009 figure this time," said Ghulam Ahmad, an assistant returning officer in Leh district.
The voters wore their traditional dresses.
As many as 1.59 lakh voters get to decide the fate of four candidates in Ladakh Lok Sabha seat. They are Tsering Samphal of the Congress, Thupstan Chhewang of the BJP and two independents, Ghulam Raza and Sayed Mohammad Kazim.
Polling started on a sluggish note in north Kashmir's Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency.
Not a single vote had been cast during the first two hours in Baramulla town, where 11 polling stations have been clustered and clubbed by the poll authorities because of law and order problems in the old town area.
Baramulla town has been a strong bastion of the hardline separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani who has called for a boycott of the polls.
Voters, however, started trickling out in twos and threes in north Kashmir Kupwara and Handwara towns. Officials in these two towns said voter turnout would pick up as the day progresses.
In the border towns of Tangdhar and Gurez, voters had started coming out in respectable numbers to elect their representative for the 16th Lok Sabha.
Voter turnout was low in Pattan, Sopore, Sumbal and Hajin voting segments.
Low voter turnout was also seen in Watergam village of Baramulla district where an explosion occurred inside a school building Tuesday.
Voting is likely to pick up in Gulmarg, Sangrama, Karnah and Uri assembly segments by midday.
Three paramilitary troopers, including an assistant commandant, were injured when militants attacked a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp in Sopore town Tuesday night.
The main contest in Baramulla is between the ruling National Conference candidate, Sharief-ud-Din Shariq who is seeking re-election and Muzaffar Hussain Baig of the regional Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
There are 13 other candidates in the fray, but prominent among them are Engineer Rashid, a sitting Jammu and Kashmir legislator, and Salamuddin Bajad, a tribal Gujjar fielded by the Peoples Conference (PC) headed by Sajad Gani Lone.
There are 11.89 lakh voters in Baramulla Lok Sabha seat.
In 2009 elections, 41.84 percent votes had been polled here.
(Posted on 07-05-2014)