Ranchi: Ignoring the boycott call given by separatists and braving cold weather, over 49 per cent of 14.73 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the penultimate phase of Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir.
Barring minor clashes between supporters of rival parties at a dozen places, polling in all the 18 constituencies spread over three districts of Kashmir, including summer capital Srinagar, and one district in Jammu region was by and large peaceful.
Despite severe cold, long queues of voters were seen outside the polling stations to exercise their franchise at many polling stations.
The trends in voter turnout in eight constituencies of Srinagar city, which have witnessed low voter turnout in the past elections due to separatist boycott calls, pointed towards a higher poll percentage this time.
While four constituencies of Khanyar, Habbakadal, Amirakadal and Zadibal had already surpassed the turnout recorded in 2008 assembly elections, the polling was going on briskly in other segments.
Sonawar constituency, where Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is contesting, witnessed the highest 33.85 per cent turnout in Srinagar followed by Hazratbal constituency at 22.77 per cent.
Edigah, Zadibal, Khanyar, Amirakadal and Batmaloo constituencies witnessed over 21.51 per cent, 20.14, 21.02 and 18.73 per cent turnout, respectively, till 2 PM in the fourth of the five-phased Assembly polls.
Anantnag constituency in south Kashmir, where PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is a candidate, saw 30.58 per cent of the electorate cast their votes in the first six hours.
Pahalgam constituency in Anantnag district was leading in the turnout in Kashmir with 54.63 per cent of electorate exercising their franchise till 2 PM.
Shangus constituency recorded 53.46 per cent turnout, followed by Dooru (52.63), Kokernag (51.95), Bijbehara (44.07), Shopian (39.78) and Wachi (36.30).
Stringent security arrangements have been put in place to ensure incident-free polling across the state, the officials said.
Women outnumber men in Jharkhand
Women voters Sunday outnumbered men in the fourth phase of the assembly elections in Jharkhand. Around 61 percent balloting was reported from across the 15 constituencies that went to the polls, officials said.
“The highest polling was reported from Chankayari with 71.28 percent, followed by 70.2 percent in Madhupur. Polling was by and large peaceful. The turnout in Maoist-affected areas was more than 60 percent,” a poll official said. Women voters scored over the male voters.
“In the fourth phase, women’s turnout was around two percent more than male voters,” an Election Commission official said.
Balloting for 15 of the 81 assembly constituencies began at 7 a.m. While voting for 13 seats ended at 3 p.m., it continued in Bokaro and Dhanbad till 5 p.m. Voting took place at 5,482 booths, including 36 auxiliary ones.
As many as 716 booths were declared ‘very sensitive’ and 2,007 declared ‘sensitive’.
The Election Commission declared 183 polling stations as model polling stations. Webcasting facility was available in 335 polling stations and 27,410 polling personnel were deployed in the fourth phase.
A total of 43,48,709 voters, including 20,03,516 females, were eligible to elect their representatives.
The fate of 217 candidates, including 16 females, was sealed in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) by the end of balloting for the day. Former chief minister Babulal Marandi contested from Giridih constituency.
Ministers Mannan Mallik of the Congress, Haji Hussain Ansari of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Suresh Paswan of the Rashtriya Janata Dal were among the other prominent candidates in this phase.
In the 2005 assembly polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party and its then alliance partner Janata Dal-United won seven of these 15 seats together. The JMM won four seats.