Akeel Rashid

Festivity and indifference mark polling in north Kashmir

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PC&NC tied in close contest

Baramulla: Enthusiasm as well as indifference, festivity as well as despondency - this is how one could describe the polling day in north Kashmir’s Baramulla-Kupwara Parliamentary Constituency.

The northern Kashmir PC went for polls today as the first phase of massive democratic exercise on earth began. This was one among the 91 PCs all over the country that went to polls today.

Over 35.01 per cent of the 13.12 lakh electorate cast their votes Thursday in the election for the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu and Kashmir as the polling concluded peacefully.

The voter turnout for the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency was 35.01 per cent, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shaliendra Kumar told reporters here.

The turnout this year has seen a decline compared to 2014 when 39.6 per cent of the electorate had exercised their franchise.

Most of the Kupwara areas witnessed tremendous enthusiasm as voters thronged polling booths, while as Sonawari and Uri, where from M Akbar Lone of NC and Raja Aijaz of Peoples Conference are contesting, witnessed sort of festivity.

However, voters of several segments in Baramulla, Sopore, Sangrama, Bandipora were indifferent and despondent. They voted but in very less numbers.

And in Gulmarg and Pattan constituencies, it was in between enthusiasm and indifference. Not much turn out but not less either.

The Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency is spread over 15 assembly segments in three districts of north Kashmir.

The constituency will send a first-time parliamentarian to the Lok Sabha as none of the nine candidates in the fray has earlier been elected to either Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.

Those in the fray include Muhammad Akbar Lone of National Conference, Farooq Ahmad Mir of Congress, Raja Aijaz Ali of People's Conference, Mohammad Maqbool War of BJP, Jahangir Khan of NPP, Abdul Qayoom Wani of PDP and independent candidates Javid Ahmad Qureshi, Syed Najeeb Shah Naqvi and Abdul Rashid Sheikh.

PPD stalwart Muzaffar Hussain Baig had won the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Baramulla constituency but he chose not to seek reelection. Baig had defeated his nearest rival Sharief-ud-Din Shariq of National Conference by a margin of 29,219 votes.

While the 2014 elections in this north Kashmir constituency was a virtual head-on contest between the PDP and NC, this time round, it is a close contest between Peoples Conference and NC.

Former MLA from Langate Abdul Rasheed Sheikh's decision to fight the Lok Sabha polls has add more spice to the contest.

However, Rasheed may get just random votes in all areas except Lagate and Gulmarg.

Langate is Rasheed’s own constituency and in Gulmarg, he is being publicly backed by former minister and DPN chief Ghulam Hassan Mir.

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