SRINAGAR:: In an unexpected turn out events during third phase of polling in the Valley, voter turnout in volatile Sopore Assembly seat in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district and Soibugh area in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, hometowns of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani and Hizbul Mujahideen chief commander Syed Salah-ud-Din respectively, witnessed increase from the previous Assembly elections.
According to J&K Chief Electoral Officer Umang Narula, Sopore constituency witnessed 30% polling in the third phase of Assembly elections in the State yesterday.
At least 103782 voters including 54271 males and 49551 females were eligible to exercise their vote in the constituency. And 134 polling stations were set up in the constituency.
Sopore is the stronghold of Geelani as he hails from Doru area of the volatile town. People in Sopore area had been boycotting the polls but this time 30 per cent voters exercised their franchise, which is over 10 per cent higher than 2008 polls.
In 2008 Assembly polls, Sopore had witnessed 19.95 per cent polling while in 2002 elections, the constituency had witnessed 24.34 per cent voter turnout.
Geelani had been contesting Assembly elections from the Sopore seat before going separatist after eruption of militancy in the State in 1989. He had won elections from the seat for J&K Assembly in 1972, 1977 and 1987 on the ticket of Jamaat-e-Islami.
The voter turnout in Baramulla seat, also a stronghold of separatists, was also on higher side. The constituency recorded 45 per cent polling as again 33.31 per cent in 2008 polls.
In Soibugh village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, hometown of pro-Pakistan militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen chief commander Syed Salah-ud-Din home town, people broke past traditions and voted in large numbers.
Salahuddin is presently living in Pakistan and operating his outfit from there.
The population of the Soibugh village had been staying away from the poll process, defied the poll boycott called by the separatists and thronged polling booths to exercise their right to franchise.
The residents of the village said their area has been neglected by the governments on pretext of poll boycott. “The roads in the area are in bad shape. Besides, we are facing acute shortage of water supply and power outages and unemployment. We exercised our right to franchise this time to get our day-to-day issues resolved.”
Soibugh area had witnessed negligible polling in the parliamentary polls held in April- May this year.