J&K 58% turnout recorded in 3rd phase of Assembly Elections PDF Print E-mail
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altaltJPNN| New Delhi | Dec 09, 2014 | Voting began on a brisk note today in 16 constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir. Undeterred by the recent spurt in militant attacks, an estimated 58 per cent voters exercised their franchise today for 16 constituencies in the third round

of the five-phased Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls. Ignoring calls for poll boycott and braving cold weather, the voters lined up at 1,781 polling stations to seal the fate of 144 candidates including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and three of his cabinet colleagues. Barring a petrol bomb attack by some unidentified persons at a polling station in Gulmarg, the polling was by and large peaceful in all the 16 constituencies in Budgam, Pulwama and Baramulla districts of north, south and central Kashmir. Sixty-two per cent polling was registered till 1400 hours in Baramulla district's Uri border town which witnessed the deadly attack on an army camp Friday leaving 11 security force personnel and six militants dead. Gulmarg constituency, also in Baramulla, saw 57 per cent polling till 2 PM followed by Chrar-e-Sharief (55.40), Khan Sahib (54.90), Rafiabad (51.0), Chadoora (49.84) and Beerwah (47.98), officials said. Budgam recorded 47.96 per cent voting, Sangrama (43.0), Rajpora (40.25), Pattan (38.77), Pampore (37.93) and Baramulla (33.74), they said. Sopore constituency, the home town of hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is spearheading the poll boycott campaign, recorded 25.42 per cent polling till 2 pm. In 2008, 19.95 per cent polling was witnessed in this contituency, the officials said. Tral assembly segment in south Kashmir, also a hot bed of militancy, recorded 28.67 per cent polling till 2 PM, they said. The constituency recorded 48.69 per cent turnout in 2008. Some unidentified men hurled a petrol bomb at a polling station in Gulmarg constituency, police said. However, no casualties were reported. Security in all the three districts had been beefed up in the wake of Friday's violence in which 21 people, including 11 security personnel and eight militants, were killed in four incidents in the valley.

All eyes are on Uri and Tral constituencies which were hit by militant violence ahead of the voting. The first two phases in the state saw a record turnout of over 70 per cent with voters ignoring boycott calls by separatists and militant outfits. The stakes are high for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which represents nine of the 16 assembly seats. The ruling NC holds four. The Congress and the Peoples Democratic Front won one seat each in the last polls while one went to an Independent. Omar, who chose to contest from Beerwah in Budgam instead of his family bastion of Ganderbal, faces a stiff challenge from sitting PDP MLA Mohammad Shafi Wani and Congress' Nazir Ahmad Khan whose father Sarfaraz Khan had won the seat in 2002 polls as a PDP candidate. PTI

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