Voting going on in a polling station in Anantnag district in southern Kashmir
Voting going on in a polling station in Anantnag district in southern Kashmir on May 25, 2024 | Photo Credit: Reshi Irshad

SRINAGAR — The Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency on Saturday recorded 53 per cent polling, which is the highest after 1984, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Jammu and Kashmir P K Pole said.

He said 18.36 lakh voters were registered for the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat. In the J&K UT, for the all five phases of Lok Sabha elections, the total poll percentage including the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary seat, has been recorded at 58 per cent.

Pole, while addressing the press conference here, as per the news agency KNO, said that the previous highest voting for the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat was 50 per cent in 1996. In 1984, the parliamentary seat had recorded 70 per cent voting.

“The overall voter turnout across all five parliamentary seats in Jammu and Kashmir was 58 per cent, surpassing the 49.58 per cent recorded in 2014 and the 47.99 percent in 1996,” he said.

CEO Pole expressed gratitude to the voters, polling staff, security personnel and candidates for their roles in achieving this historic turnout. “The credit goes to the voters for making new records,” he stated, emphasizing the collective effort that made the electoral process a success.

Anantnag-Rajouri’s 53 percent turnout marks a significant increase from the dismal 9 percent voting in 2019. Giving the break up, Pole said that Surankote reported the highest turnout at 68 percent, while Kulgam and Anantnag saw lower participation with 32 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Migrant polling booths also recorded over 50 percent turnout, with 9,000 postal ballots cast.

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A total of 9,000 polling staff were deployed in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency to facilitate the voting process. Across Jammu and Kashmir, the turnout percentages for the other constituencies were as follows: Baramulla at 59.10 percent, Srinagar at 39 percent, Udhampur at 68 percent, and Jammu at 72.22 percent.

It is in place to mention here that there were 11,600 polling stations set up across the Union Territory, as per PK Pole.

Voting commenced at 7 am on Saturday in the newly delimited Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary seat, amid stringent security measures across the entire area. The Election Commission had implemented robust arrangements, including satellite phones and special equipment at polling stations with poor mobile signals, to counter threats and contingencies, particularly from potential cross-border shelling in border regions.

This election, the last of five in Jammu and Kashmir, presented significant security challenges. The region has recently experienced four militancy incidents in the Rajouri-Poonch area.

Election officials assured that comprehensive measures have been taken to ensure free, fair, and peaceful voting. The constituency spaned 18 assembly segments, with the Election Commission establishing 2,338 polling stations to accommodate over 18.36 lakh voters.

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Out of 542 polling stations in Rajouri district, 278 were categorized as sensitive. Additionally, 45 polling stations were within the direct firing range from across the Line of Control (LoC). In Poonch district, 55 out of 171 polling stations are located along the LoC.

To safeguard voters in critical areas, the district administration had devised contingency plans. Deputy Commissioner Rajouri confirmed that five villages lie between the LoC and the fencing.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha congratulated the people of Jammu and Kashmir. In his message to the people, he said, “I congratulate the people for the historic turnout in today’s polls for Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency. I compliment all stakeholders for the successful conduct of this huge exercise, especially voters for their unique contribution in strengthening democratic values.”

“Overall, there has been 58% polling in J&K UT for 5 parliamentary constituencies in 5 phases, which is a record turnout and the entire process was conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner. Congratulations to the J&K Police and other security forces for elaborate security management,” he went on to state.

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