Sumbal in Bandipora district of North Kashmir registered more than 35 per cent polling while turnout of electorate remained poor in other areas of the valley during the second phase of election for municipal bodies on Wednesday.
Polling was brisk in the Muslim-majority districts of Doda and Kishtwar, like other parts in the Jammu division.
Polling percentage in the six districts of Jammu ranged between 69 and 86. However, official figures were yet to come.
The South Kashmir district of Anantnag and Srinagar registered poor percentage of 1 and 1.8 percent, respectively, till 2 pm. Police said that the polling went smoothly.
National Conference (NC) leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, taking exception to the polling starting today at 6 am, tweeted, “Why are polling booths opening at 6 am? If I believed conspiracy theories I’d believe it’s because journalists won’t be around to verify the genuineness of voters at that very early hour”.
This was for the first time that polling was started in J-K even before day break.
Farooq Ahmad Khan, a former aide of Pakistan-based global terrorist Salahuddin, who is contesting the election for the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) cast his vote in a polling booth in Srinagar and displayed the polling ink mark on his finger to photographers.
The electorate in the Jammu division not only rejected the poll boycott call of Separatist but also their call for shutdown.
The Kishtwar district had registered about 69 per cent polling by 2 pm, while the percentage was 68 percent in the Doda district.
Today’s polling is being considered as acid test for the BJP because it was being held in the areas that are represented in the parliament by the high-profile Jitendera Singh, minister of state in the PMO.
These areas have registered very high percentage of polling and various political parties were interpreting the high polling in their own ways.
Kathua, Udhampur, Reasi and Ramban were also witnessing high polling.
Meanwhile, a voter was severely thrashed by people outside a polling station at Khanabal of Anantnag in south Kashmir after he came out of the polling booth.
Voters, out of fear of being identified, reportedly did not let photojournalists take pictures at a polling booth at Khushpora Zainkote in the outskirts of Srinagar.
Security forces were deployed in strength to prevent any untoward incident in and around the polling stations. National Conference, PDP and CPI(M) have boycotted the elections. These elections are being held after a gap of 13 years.
A BJP candidate, Azad Singh, died of cardiac arrest in Ramban district after casting his vote.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), J-K, Shaleen Kabra voting took place at 544 polling stations across the State. He said 270 polling stations have been designated for voting in Kashmir Division and 274 in Jammu Division.
He said 1029 candidates were in the fray for 263 Municipal Wards including 49 in Kashmir and 214 in Jammu. He said 881 candidates were in the fray in Jammu division and 148 in Kashmir division for the second phase.