38% Voting For J&K’s Srinagar Seat, Highest In 35 Years

 

The Srinagar constituency of Jammu and Kashmir voted on Monday to choose its next representative to the Lok Sabha — the first election there since the general election of 2019. And the voting figure broke all records. In absence of any boycott call from separatists or fear of violence, 38 per cent people came out to vote — a first in 35 years and highest since 1989.  Srinagar had recorded 14 per cent polling in the last general election. PK Pole, the Chief Electoral Officer J&K the figure may go up once the final data is released.

This was the first general election in the Kashmir Valley after Jammu and Kashmir lost its statehood and the special status granted under the Constitution’s Article 370.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi applauded the people and attributed the unexpected turnout to the scrapping of Article 370.

“Would especially like to applaud the people of Srinagar Parliamentary constituency for the encouraging turnout, significantly better than before. The abrogation of Article 370 has enabled the potential and aspirations of the people to find full expression. Happening at the grassroots level, it is great for the people of J&K, in particular the youth,” read his post on X, formerly Twitter.

Would especially like to applaud the people of Srinagar Parliamentary constituency for the encouraging turnout, significantly better than before. The abrogation of Article 370 has enabled the potential and aspirations of the people to find full expression. Happening at the… https://t.co/2DvSCnXFKR

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 13, 2024

Mr Pole said there were four key reasons for high turnout after decades of poll boycott in the Valley.

“I think the first important factor is improvement in situation over last few years. Second is effective campaigning by the candidates and the number of candidates who were in fray,” said Mr Pole.

“SVEEP activities has also played a key role in creating awareness among the people. Above all, it is the people of Kashmir who have realised that ballot is the only answer to ensure sustainable development,” he said.

The Pulwama district, which is part of the Srinagar seat, had recorded just one per cent polling in the last parliament election.

National Conference leader Ghulam Mohi-Ud-Din Mir, who has survived over a dozen terror attacks, said today’s vote is a tribute to hundreds of political workers including his father, who were killed in Kashmir for choosing democracy over militancy.

Today, when he came to cast his vote at a polling booth at Muran village in Pulwama, it brought a chilling reminder of how he survived a major terrorist attack in the same premises in 2018.

“This vote is tribute to hundreds of political workers who were killed for defending democracy in Kashmir” said Mr Mir.

“I was attacked right outside this polling booth in 2018 and the PSO killed was killed in the attack. Today, I feel happy everyone is coming out to vote without any fear,” he added.

There are 24 candidates in fray for the Srinagar seat but the main contest appears to be between National Conference’s Aga Ruhullah Mehdi and People’s Democratic Party’s Wahid Ur Rehman Parra. Both parties have alleged that their workers were detained by the police ahead of polling. The BJP has not fielded any candidate for the three seats of the Valley.

NDTV News-India-news 

 

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