Voting picks up slightly in Kashmir’s Anantnag

Anantnag : With electors coming out in many areas of Anantnag in the afternoon to exercise their franchise, the poll percentage in this Jammu and Kashmir Lok Sabha constituency showed an improvement over voting figures earlier in the day Thursday.

The overall voting percentage for the constituency, that has 13.01 lakh voters, rose to 24 percent by 3 p.m. despite recent terror attacks and boycott calls by separatists. The contest sees Mehboob Beg of the ruling National Conference (NC) seeking re-election against Mehbooba Mufti, president of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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Tral assembly segment, where two village headmen were killed by guerrillas Monday, recorded a mere 0.81 percent voting till 3 p.m. while the highest percentage of 60 was recorded in Noorabad assembly segment till 3 p.m.

This was followed by Pahalgam with 52 percent, Kokernag with 40 percent and Dooru and Devsar assembly constituencies which recorded over 34 percent voting each.

Voters in Pulwama, Wachi, Shopian and Rajpora assembly segments also started coming out of their homes in the afternoon despite stone pelting and announcements over loudspeakers from mosques by separatist sympathizers to boycott the polls.

The final voting percentages would be made available at a press conference by chief electoral officer (CEO) Umang Narula in Srinagar at 7.30 p.m.

Heavy deployment of security forces and area domination ahead of the voting process prevented separatists from carrying out any attack in the constituency where authorities had been keeping their figures crossed in the aftermath of killings of three village headmen, two in Tral and one in Awantipora area of Pulwama segment.

Despite there being 10 other candidates in the fray, the main contest is between Beg and Mehbooba.

PDP patron and former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba cast their vote at a polling station in their hometown Bijbehara in the afternoon.

Voting was slated to end at 6 p.m.