NEW DELHI: Jammu and Kashmir recorded a "historic and unprecedented" polling in the last 27 years with 66 per cent electorate exercising their franchise in the five phases, the last one today recording a high 76 per cent with voters braving freezing temperatures.
The streak of strong balloting was also followed by Jharkhand with an overall voting figure of 66.03 per cent in the polls, with the last phase registering an impressive 71.26 per cent turn out.
"It has been the highest turn-out of voters in the last over 25 years, that is after 1987, in Jammu and Kashmir. This has been a historic and unprecedented turn-out in the current elections.
The elections were totally peaceful and participative, with voters coming out with full enthusiasm," Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi told reporters at the end of the five-phase polls in the state which began on November 25. Zutshi said all previous voting numbers, after 1987, have been less than this time in J and K.
While in the Assembly polls of 2008 the poll percentage was 61.42 per cent, in 2002 the figures stood at 43.09 per cent. In Lok Sabha polls of 2004 the figures stood at 35.20 per cent, 2009 (39.67 per cent) and 2014 (50.23 per cent). Zutshi said, in both J and K and Jharkhand, there was not a "single pre-poll or poll-day casualty."
The fifth and the last phase of polls in J and K, where 20 seats in three districts went to polls, the voting percentage was recorded at 76 per cent.
The militancy-hit state has seen a quadrangular fight with ruling National Conference, main opposition PDP, BJP and Congress locked in the battle.
Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand and four of his cabinet colleagues are among 312 candidates whose fate was locked in ballot boxes today.
Jharkhand, which also went to the polls along with J and K, broke all previous polling records to witness a total of 66.03 percent of turn-out in the five phases since it was carved out of Bihar in 2000. The state bettered the previous mark of 54.2 per cent in the 2004 assembly polls.
"This is the highest-ever polling in Jharkhand. The last phase saw a total of 71.26 per cent voting," Deputy EC Umesh Sinha said while briefing about the state.
Prominent among those in the fray in the state in this phase were Chief Minister Hemant Soren from Dumka and Barhait, Assembly Speaker Shashank Sekhar Bhokta from Sarath and Rural Works Minister Lobin Hembrom from Borio.