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Boycott call fails to deter north Kashmir electorate

Women outnumbered men at the polling booths of the north Kashmir town that is the gateway to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Statesman News Service | Jammu |

Undeterred by the Killing of scholar-turned-terrorist Manan Wani in an encounter and the poll boycott call by Separatists, about 76 per cent electorate in Uri town on the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir turned out on Saturday to cast their vote in the elections for local bodies.

Women outnumbered men at the polling booths of the north Kashmir town that is the gateway to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The Baramulla district of Kashmir had registered 74.55 per cent polling by 3 pm and the percentage was spiralling during the third phase of polling for the municipal elections in Jammu-Kashmir.

However, the Anantnag and Srinagar districts registered poor polling of 2.7 and 2 per cent respectively till 2 pm. Observers point out that even 2.7 per cent electorate turning out to cast their vote in Anantnag, which is the nerve-centre of terrorism, was an encouraging sign.

Heavy security arrangements were made for the polling.

The Samba district of Jammu along the International Border with Pakistan witnessed enthusiasm among the electorate and 83.36 per cent votes were cast.

Baramulla and Samba witnessed enthusiasm right from the morning and 9.2 and 16.8 per cent votes, respectively, had been polled in these places by 8 am after the polling started at 6 am.

Enthusiasm did not lack in Ramgarh, which is often shelled by Pakistani troops and is at a stone’s throw distance from the border, where 82.77 per cent votes were cast. Samba town and Bari-Brahmanan registered 78.77 and 85.73 per cent polling, respectively, for their municipal bodies. Long queues were seen outside the polling booths in the border area.

A 102-year-old woman, Satya Devi, was among the first to cast her vote in Samba. Men of J-K police assisted her relatives in carrying her after she exercised her franchise.

Junaid Azim Mattu, who is contesting the election for the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) after recently resigning as spokesman of National Conference, cast his vote in Srinagar where polling for 20 wards was held today.

Election for 79 municipal bodies is being held in four phases.

According to the chief electoral officer, Shaleen Kabra, 365 candidates were in the fray for 96 wards during the third phase of polling today. Polling for the fourth and last phase of election for municipal bodies will be held on 16 October.

He said the overall poll percentage in the first two phases of the Municipal polls has been 47.2.

National Conference, PDP and CPI(M) have boycotted the elections.