India News Jammu & Kashmir Politics

J&K records highest polling in 35 years 

With Phase 6 polls, the 5-phase election process in Jammu and Kashmir has been successfully completed…reports Asian Lite News

J&K Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) P. K. Pole on Saturday said that the tentative poll percentage in the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency is 53 per cent while for the entire J&K, the poll percentage is 58 per cent, which is highest in last 35 years.

“The tentative poll percentage for the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency is 53 per cent which can marginally go up as statistics are still being finalised,” the CEO said while addressing a press conference.

He said that the voting has been highest in the Surankote segment where 68 per cent voter turnout was recorded. In Rajouri, the turnout was more or less equal to Surankote.

“The lowest voter turnout in today’s poll was recorded in Kulgam segment where only 34 per cent turnout was recorded,” the CEO said.

The CEO said that with the Phase 6 poll, the 5-phase election process in J&K has been successfully completed.

“The entire poll process in the UT was held with no stone pelting incident, no shifting of polling stations, no stone pelting on vehicles carrying polling staff and polling material. There was, however, an incident of violence that was not directly related to the elections,” he said.

He said that for the entire Jammu and Kashmir, the turnout was 58 per cent which is the highest in the last 35 years.

When asked about the former Chief Minister and PDP candidate for Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, Mehbooba Mufti sitting on a ‘Dharna’ alleging that her workers and polling agents had been arrested, the CEO said, “We all know the past history of Kashmir. Persons with OGW or criminal background were detained to prevent them from disrupting the democratic process.”

He said that while we take such security measures the administration does not see the socio-religious background of the persons involved.

After fresh delimitation of electoral constituencies, two districts of Jammu division, Poonch and Rajouri were added to Valley’s Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency while Pulwama district was deleted from this constituency and was made a part of the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, just nine per cent voter turnout was recorded in Anantnag while Rajouri and Poonch polled 72 per cent votes.

There are 20 candidates in the fray in this constituency. The main contest is, however, between Mian Altaf Ahmad, senior Gujjar/Baksrwal leader of the National Conference (NC), Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister and President of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Zafar Iqbal Manhas of J&K Apni Party.

BJP has unofficially supported the Apni Party candidate and has not fielded any candidate in this constituency.

Pahari community living in Poonch and Rajouri districts form a significant number of voters in the constituency.

This community was given ST status by the Central government recently.

In addition to the Pahari community, Gujjar/Bakarwal community also form a significant part of the constituency’s electorate.

Cash, liquor, freebies seized in J&K

Election authorities and other enforcement agencies seized around Rs 95 crore worth of cash, liquor, and other freebies, meant to be used to influence the voters during the five-phase Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Sunday.  

The election process in J&K ended on Saturday with voting in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency.

“Despite the voter turnout having broken a 35-year-old record in Kashmir, some candidates had tried to use money, liquor, freebies etc to influence the voters. We seized material and cash with a total value of Rs 94.797 crore from the date of commencement of the Lok Sabha elections in J&K,” an Election Commission official said.

Officials credited the J&K Police with playing the most important role in checking the use of money and freebies as it accounted for Rs 90.83 crore seized during the campaign.

Cash, liquor, drugs and other freebies were seized by various enforcement departments. Major department-wise seizures included seizures by the police valued at Rs 90.831 crore, the Income Tax Department at Rs 42 lakh, the Excise Department at Rs 1.01 crore while the Narcotics Control Bureau seized drugs valued at Rs 2.32 crore, officials said.

“In order to ensure a level playing field for all contestants, we took action against over 40 government employees who were allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct. We received 143 grievances on the CVIGIL app out of which over 80 have been resolved while the remaining are under the process of resolution,” the EC official said.

“To monitor various election-related activities and also check the Model Code of Conduct compliance, we had established a command and control room at the CEO office in Jammu as well as in Srinagar. Similar mini-control rooms were also established in every DEO’s (district election officer) office and were functioning round-the-clock. All electronic media channels and social media platforms were monitored here. Any violation so detected was reported and the concerned RO/ARO issued a notice,” the official added.

“All techno-savvy facilities, including GPS monitoring, live surveillance, telecommunication, etc. were put into use to secure one of the most exhaustive and elaborate poll processes in J&K amid concerns about the disruption of this democratic process by anti-national elements in the past,” the EC official said.

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