Bijbehara (J-K), Apr 23 (PTI) A low voter turnout of just above two per cent was witnessed Tuesday in this assembly segment, the home of former chief minister and PDP candidate Mehbooba Mufti, in south Kashmir's Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, a militancy hotbed, where the election is being held in three phases due to security reasons.
The authorities clubbed seven polling booths of the town inside a building housing the office of the Executive Engineer, Public Health Engineering (PHE), Bijbehara – 45 kms from the summer capital Srinagar.
According to figures available on the Election Commission's Voter Turnout App, the final polling number for the Bijbehara Assembly segment was 2.04 per cent.
Joined by her family, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti cast her vote at booth number 35 around 2:30 pm.
At around 3 PM, with just an hour to go for the polling to close, only 31 votes (16 males and 15 females) were polled at the booth, out of the total 345 (161 males and 184 females), polling officials said.
The female voters included Mehbooba and her two daughters who accompanied her, and the PDP president's mother who voted earlier in the day.
The polling booths inside the PHE office premises were housed in smaller rooms cramping the poll staff and voters. A dark narrow passage connected various rooms of the two-storey building housing the seven booths – six on the ground floor and one in the upper storey.
All the seven polling booths witnessed low voting as the impact of poll boycott call was visible in the area, a part of the Bijbehara assembly segment represented in the last assembly by senior PDP leader and former minister Abdul Rehman Veeri.
Till 3 PM, a dismal 3.88 per cent voting was recorded in the town. Only 207 votes were polled in these seven booths were the total number of registered voters is 5,335, poll officials said.
Among these 207, the number of male voters was 114, while the number of female voters was 93.
Even as the poll percentage was low in the area and in the assembly segment as a whole, Mehbooba, who is contesting Lok Sabha polls from this constituency, exuded confidence of winning the election.
"This is the peoples' decision. They have supported me before and I am hopeful that they will support me today as well," Mehbooba said.
Asked about her first big electoral test after the demise of her father and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Mehbooba said the workers of her party and the people of the constituency were with her.
"He is not with me today, but the workers and party activists whom he has left for me, are with me and God willing, the people here are with me as well," she said.
The situation outside the polling station and by and large in the whole constituency remained peaceful during the poll. But there was some ruckus inside the polling station as the National Conference (NC) and Congress alleged that bogus voting was taking place. In the scuffle, an NC polling agent named Parvaiz Ahmad Gojri was injured.
The NC and Congress agents also alleged that one of Mehbooba's daughters was allowed to vote without producing the mandatory identification document.
"I told her (Mehbooba's daughter) that you are like my sister, but please show me your identification card as it is my democratic right as a voter (and) as an agent," Beigh Asif, the Congress agent at booth 35, told reporters.
He also said few 'burqa' (veil)-clad women entered into one of the polling booths and cast their vote without anyone checking their identities.
His party colleague also alleged there were bogus voting at booth number 37.
They demanded cancellation of voting at the polling booth number 37.
The final booth-wise turnout will be available later. PTI SSB MIJ TIR TIR
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI