A Kashmiri constituency on the edge of India-Pakistan border sees a 35% voter turnout

Baramulla is located close to the LoCWikipedia
  • Baramulla constituency close to the Line of Control is a sensitive and volatile area.
  • Voter turnout in the first phase of polling on April 11 was 35%, according to reports.
  • The state of Jammu & Kashmir recorded a voter turnout of 54.49% until 5 pm.
  • Incidents of stone-pelting and glitches in the electronic voting machines may have also affected the voter turnout.
Over 35% of voters turned up to vote on April 11 in Baramulla, a district that stretches to the edge of the tense Line of Control that divides India and Pakistan, in the state of Kashmir.

The Baramulla district has been a hotbed of Kashmiri militancy and a haven for separatists up in arms against the Indian state for years. However, earlier this year, the Kashmir Police declared that the district had become ‘militant free’.

Glitches in the electronic voting machines and stone-pelting protestors may have also affected the voter turnout. That over a third of the registered voters in the constituency still turned up to vote can be read as a mixed signal, at best.

In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, two constituencies Jammu and Baramulla went to polls today. The voter turnout in the state as a whole was recorded to be at 54.49% until 5 pm, according to the Election Commission.

The state of Jammu & Kashmir in totality had recorded a voter turnout of 49.52% in the 2014 General Elections, meanwhile Baramulla alone had recorded 39.14% and Jammu had recorded 67.99%.

The voter count in the strife-torn areas of Kashmir is a significant signal to assess the appeal of the Indian democracy in the region that sees violent outbursts by separatists, frequently. Expectations were high this time, as the voter turnout in the Panchayat (local administration) elections in Kashmir held in December 2018 saw an average voter turnout of 74%.

This time too, Kashmiri separatists had called for boycott of polls, and some incidents of stone pelting were reported during the day.

In the Parliamentary elections of 1999 and 2004, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference candidate Abdul Rasheed Shaheen was elected from this constituency, followed by Sharief Ud Din Shariq of the same party in 2009. However, the tables turned in 2014 when Muzaffar Hussain Baig from the rival People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won the election in 2014. This time the candidates are M M War, from BJP, Haji Farooq Mir from INC, Abdul Kauam Vani from PDP Mohammad Akbar lone from JKNC.

Post the suicide attack in Pulwama in February which had killed over 40 Indian security personnel, the state had been under high alert and political tensions had flared up.

The state has been at the centre of terrorist attacks, violence by separatists, civil disobedience and protests, and the major point of contention between India and Pakistan, elections hold major significance.

See Also:
142 million voters go to polls today in 20 states— here’s a look at the key issues in every state
Elections 2019: Democracy’s appeal is under test in the shadow of the world’s highest battleground
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