Last Phase Records Highest Turnout

In the hotbed of militancy, the bullets could not dissuade the ballots -- 52 percent turnout in Doda district capped the four-phased elections to the 87-member J&K Assembly, making the overall turnout approx 44 per cent
Last Phase Records Highest Turnout
Last Phase Records Highest Turnout

Defying threat in this hotbed of militancy, about 52 per cent of the electorate today voted in six constituencies of Doda district capping the four-phased elections to the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir Assembly with an overall turnout of 44 per cent.

In Lolab constituency in Kupwara district in Kashmir valley, where polling was put off following the assassination of National Conference candidate and Law Minister Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, a significant 44 per cent of voters cast their ballots despite fear of militants violence.

Of the four phases, the turnout today in Doda district was the highest belying all apprehensions in this regard and despite suicide attack by militants in the heart of Doda town killing two CRPF personnel and injuring four. One of the two militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba was killed in retaliation by security forces.

The CRPF personnel killed were idenfified as D S Arde and constable Ramesh Kumar.

Militants detonated three Improvised Explosive Devices, one near a polling booth, in Banihal and Doda constituencies where balloting was being held.

Counting of ballots will be taken up on October 10.

Deputy Election Commissioner Sayan Chatterjee told reporters in Delhi that the Commission was satisfied with the total election process "given the circumstances and considering the situation under which elections were held when militants constantly dissuaded the voters.

The district election office in Doda said the highest turnout of voters among the six constituencies was recorded in Ramban at 57.87 per cent followed by Inderwal with 56.72 per cent, Kishtwar (55.88), Badherwah (54.51), Doda (47.62) and Banihal (40.56).

Repolling has been ordered in one polling station in Doda constituency and it will be held tomorrow.

Militants fired on polling booths at Malwana, Thajoot and Budhal in Doda district during the polling. However, no loss of life was reported.

Hours before polling, the militants had also lobbed a grenade at the house of an independent candidate Joginder Bhandari at Shaheedi Mohalla in Kishtwar town causing damage to the window panes and a grenade was hurled in Kishtwar town last evening which fell in a ditch.

However, the attacks by ultras in Doda did not dampen the spirits of voters who came out fearlessly to exercise their right of franchise, an official spokesman said in Jammu.

He said Hizbul Mujahideen posters appeared today in Banihal constituency asking people to caste their votes in good numbers. These posters had also asked people to defy the militant threats of Pakistan based outfit, he added.

Minister of State for Home Khalid Najeeb Suhrawardy, state chiefs of BJP and BSP, Daya Kishan Kotwal and Sheikh Abdul Rehman respectively, former minister and PCC chief Ghulam Nabi Azad's kin Mohammad Sharief Niyaz and former advocate general Mohammad Aslam Goni are among those whose political fate was sealed in the electronic voting machines.



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