Unprecedented security arrangements at polling booths
The first of three-phase polling for Lok Sabha polls in Anantnag constituency was held on Tuesday amidst tight security measures and witnessed 13.63 voter turnout.
The polling was held at 714 polling stations across the Anantnag district, which has six Assembly segments.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) J&K, Shailendra Kumar said overall poll percentage in the district was recorded 13.63 with highest 20.37 per cent in Pahalgam segment.
He said for smooth polling, ECI had setup 714 polling stations including 21 model polling stations, 12 all women model polling stations in the district.
The CEO said the percentage of the total votes polled in Anantnag segment was 3.47 per cent, Dooru 17.28, Kokernag 19.50, Shangus 15.10, Bijbehara 2.4 percent, Pahalgam 20.37 percent.
He said 4101 migrant votes were also polled.
Kumar said total percentage of voting till date in various parliamentary constituencies in the state including Baramulla, Jammu, Srinagar, Udhampur and Anantnag was recorded at 48.87 percent.
The election for Kulgam district would be held on April 29 and twin districts of Shopian and Pulwama on May 6.
All the polluting stations were heavily guarded by forces comprising police, paramilitary CRPF, ITBP and SSB.
At a polling station in Bijbehara, where the former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti cast her vote, police had setup dual-access control, where the cops were thoroughly frisking people entering the booth.
Around 50 forces personnel were deployed in and around the polling station.
There remained heavy deployment of troops in and around the polling stations.
In view of boycott and shutdown called by separatists, large contingents of forces were also deployed at major flash points in the district to maintain law and order.
The Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) teams were also on standby to deal with any contingency in the district.
In some areas, Army men were also deployed on roads to prevent stone pelting on polling stations.
The Anti-Riot Groups along with Anti-Roit Teams were also deployed at police stations Sirigufwara, Achabal, Anantnag, Kokernag Utersoo, Pahalgam, Dooru and Bijbehara in the district.
“During polling time, no incident took place,” said Kumar.
Asked whether the low voter turnout was a concern for ECI, the CEO said, “We generally expect and try that no voter is left behind in the electoral roll.
We expect everyone who is in the electoral rolls, goes and vote. But, we can’t force,” he said.
Although 18 candidates are in fray, the main contest is between PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, State congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir, National Conference candidate Hasnain Masoodi and BJP’s Sofi Yousuf.