Violence as 3 per cent vote in Pulwama Shopian, 52 per cent in Ladakh

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By IANS on 06/05/2019.

Violence as 3 per cent vote in Pulwama Shopian, 52 per cent in Ladakh

Leh/Anantnag, May 6: Clashes erupted at many places on Monday between mobs and security forces after the elections ended in the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat with a dismal voter turnout of 3 per cent.

The turnout in the third and final phase of polling in Anantnag constituency is the lowest in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in the troubled state.

But the Ladakh Lok Sabha constituency saw a 51.9 per cent voter turnout. The overall voter turnout in both Anantnag and Ladakh constituencies was 15.2 per cent.

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The poll process in the third phase of Anantnag was marred by violence although the security forces used restraint in controlling the mobs which stoned polling stations and engaged the security forces in pitched clashes throughout the day.

At two places in Pulwama district, militants hurled grenades at polling stations in Rohmoo and Tral areas.

The grenades exploded without causing any damage but caused enough fear and panic among the voters to refrain from exercising their democratic right.

The Congress accused the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders of booth capturing and bogus voting in Pampore and Rajpora voting segments. The spokesman has demanded a re-poll at these places.

As the polling staff and the security forces started to withdraw at 4 p.m., the stone pelters attacked scores of vehicles in Shopian and Pulwama districts.

Security forces used tear smoke and pellet gunshots to control the unruly crowds.

Hardly any voter approached the polling stations in Shopian, Wachi, Rajpora, Pulwama and Tral segments of Anantnag during the day.

There are 522,530 voters in the districts of Shopian and Pulwama who were eligible to vote on Monday as part of the Anantnag constituency. The total electorate is 174,618 in Ladakh, spread over the two districts of Leh and Kargil.

Most polling stations in Shopian and Pulwama wore a deserted look. All the polling stations in Shopian and Pulwama were categorised as ‘critical’ by the authorities given the security situation in the two districts.

Separatists called for an election boycott and a shutdown in Shopian and Pulwama.

Although polling began at the same time in both the Lok Sabha seats, it ended at 4 p.m. in Anantnag and 6 p.m. in Ladakh.

There were 18 candidates in the race in Anantnag but the main contest was between Mehbooba Mufti of PDP, Ghulam Ahmad Mir of Congress and Justice (retired) Hasnain Masoodi of NC.

In Ladakh, the contest was four-cornered involving Jamyang Tsering Namgyal of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rigzin Spalbar of the Congress and two independents, Haji Asgar Ali Karbalai and Sajjad Hussain