Today: Jun 25, 2024

After highest voter turnout in J&K in 35 yrs, CEC says assembly polls to be held soon

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New Delhi:  The Election Commission on Monday said the voter turnout in Jammu and Kashmir this time was the highest in a Lok Sabha election in the last 35 years with the Kashmir Valley witnessing a “massive” 30 percentage point jump in poll participation compared to 2019.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said this achievement sits on a 25 percent increase in the number of contesting candidates since 2019.

“This active participation is a huge positive for the assembly elections to be held soon so that the democratic process continues to thrive in the Union Territory,” he said.

The poll panel also said the combined voter turnout at the polling stations for the entire Union Territory with five Lok Sabha seats was 58.46 percent.

On Saturday, CEC Kumar told PTI Videos that encouraged by the voter turnout in Jammu and Kashmir in this Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission will “very soon” initiate the process of conducting the assembly polls in the Union Territory.

The voter turnout of 50.86 percent from the three parliamentary constituencies in the Kashmir Valley echoes the faith of the people in the democratic process, the Election Commission said, adding the poll participation percentage witnessed a 30-point jump from the 2019 general elections where it was 19.16 percent.

The three seats in the Valley — Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri — recorded a voter turnout of 38.49 percent, 59.1 percent and 54.84 percent, respectively, all of which have been the highest in the last three decades.

The other two seats in the Union Territory — Udhampur and Jammu — which fall in the Jammu region, recorded 68.27 percent and 72.22 percent voter turnout respectively, it said.

The Election Commission said that an increasing number of young people have asserted their faith and embraced democracy in a big way.

Another interesting perspective is the people in the age group of 18-59 years who constitute over 80 percent of the electorate in each of the five Lok Sabha seats of the Union Territory, it underlined.

The high poll percentage in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls is reflective of their faith in democracy, which is a positive and heartening development, the poll panel stressed.

Whenever an assembly election is held in Jammu and Kashmir, it will be the first since the August 2019 abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories with the other being Ladakh which has one Lok Sabha seat and no provision for a legislative assembly.

Following a delimitation exercise, the number of assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir has gone up from 83 to 90, excluding those allocated to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. In December, the Supreme Court directed the poll panel to hold assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir by September 30.

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