SRINAGAR: The overall 66 per cent polling recorded in the five-phased Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections, which concluded on Saturday, was the highest recorded in the state in the last 25 years.
According to the state’s Chief Electoral Officer(CEO) Umang Narula, about 76 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the fifth and final phase of the Assembly polls, in which 20 constituencies spread across three districts-- Kathua, Jammu and Rajouri-- went to the polls.
He said Bani recorded 83.20 per cent polling, Basholi 78.50 per cent, Kathua 80.47 per cent, Billawar 77.60 per cent, Hiranagar(SC) 80.17 per cent, Nagrota 81 per cent, Jammu East 66.05 per cent, Jammu West 65 per cent, Bishnah 80.22 per cent, R S Pura(SC) 77.79 per cent, Suchetgarh 80 per cent, Marh 82.45 per cent, Raipur Domana(SC) 77.41 per cent, Akhnoor 82.97 per cent, Chhamb(SC) 82 per cent, Nowshera 81.70 per cent, Darhal 81 per cent, Rajouri 75 per cent, Kalakote 74 per cent and Gandhinagar 60 per cent.
Narula said elaborate security arrangements were put in place to enable voters to exercise their franchise in a free and fair atmosphere.
“The poll percentage may increase after consolidation of figures,” he said. More than 18.28 lakh voters, including 9,59,011 males and 8,69,891 females, were eligible to cast their votes in the fifth phase of polling, in which 213 candidates were in the fray.
Narula confirmed that J&K has recorded an overall 66 per cent voter turnout, as against 61 per cent in the 2008 polls.
In the final round of polling, a Congress Minister in the outgoing NC-Congress Government was booked for attacking a BJP candidate in Jammu, while in another incident militants shot dead a Sarpanch in Kashmir.
The police lodged an FIR against Congress Minister Manohar Lal Sharma, who contested from Billawar in Jammu, after his supporters allegedly attacked a motorcade of BJP candidate Nirmal Singh on Friday evening. No casualties were reported in the incident but some vehicles ferrying the BJP workers were damaged.
According to sources, Sharma was booked for leading the Congress workers, who attacked the BJP candidate and his supporters.
The police have also registered an FIR against independent candidate Rajinder Singh and others for violating the poll code and resorting to violence in Kathua.
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.