Polling ends in J&K, Anantnag breaks barriers

Anantnag: The sixth Phase of voting for General Elections to 18th Lok Sabha concluded peacefully here today with around 53 % voting in the districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Poonch and Shopian & Rajouri Districts partly.
Fractional correction is expected in the percentage figure, as at some of the Polling Stations voting continued even after 6.00 pm and many polling parties are yet to reach Reception Center.
This remarkable participation marks a new era of peace and civic engagement in these districts. This year’s elections were conducted without any boycott calls or intimidation, showcasing the voters’ unwavering belief in the power of the ballot.
Not a single polling station reported zero votes, a testament to the widespread enthusiasm and commitment to the democratic process. Corresponding percentage for last Lok Sabha election in 2019 was 9.70 %. Voters participated with lots of enthusiasm.

Since eruption of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, the highest ever poll percentage in Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency, was recorded in year 1996 with 50.02 %. Hence the poll percentage 53 % is highest in last 35 years, since eruption of militancy in J&K. Important factors which can be attributed to the increased record polling percentage are improved security – law and order environment in last 4-5 years, mobilization by 20 candidates and Political parties, election awareness through SVEEP activities and more importantly voters strong belief that it is the Ballot which can lead to sustainable development (aman, tarraki aur khush-hali).

Polling took place in 2338 polling stations across the Anantnag Parliamentary constituency with live webcasting at all the polling stations. Voting started at 7 a.m. across the PC with long queues of enthusiastic voters waiting to cast their votes.

Demonstrating the spirit of democracy the voters of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Rajouri and Poonch Districts showed up in record numbers to cast their votes in a significant show of faith in the Election Process. Since beginning of the poll at 7.00 AM, Voters were seen standing in long queues at many polling stations across the all 5 Districts. Elderlies, ladies, youths were seen enthusiastically exercising their right to vote in a peaceful environment.

The Chief Electoral Officer, J&K and other senior officers of the election department monitored the progress of voting in Phase -VI across the Parliamentary constituency from the Union Territory-level Command and Control Center established at ICCC- HMT, Bemina and CEO Office, Srinagar. It is pertinent to mention here that the Command and Control center has been working 24 x 7 at Srinagar as well as Jammu since 16 March to ensure free, fair, and inducement-free elections.

Actual Poll started at 7.00 AM and after two hours of polling, 8.98 % polling was recorded in the constituency at 09:00 am; at 11.00 AM 23.34 % of voting, at 01:00 PM 35.61% voting; at 3:00 PM 44.88 % voting was recorded. By 5:00 pm, 51.35 % polling was recorded in the constituency. Assembly segment wise highest poll percentage was observed in Surankote Assembly segment with around 68.00 % and lowest in Kulgam Assembly segment with around 32 %. Budhal and Rajouri assembly segments have also recorded higher poll percentage.

Around 18,36,576 electors were enrolled for casting their vote in this Parliamentary Constituency. More than 9,000 polling staff has performed poll duty. Poll continued till 6.00 pm and at few polling stations of Poonch- Rajouri and other areas, till voting by last voter standing in queue. At every polling station, basic minimum facilities of water, electricity, toilet, ramp, verandah/ waiting room etc were made.

Even wheelchairs and volunteers were provided as and when required. Effort was made to give better experience to voter. In many polling station premises, it was seen that even small kids were accompanying their parents and playing in the premises. Polling stations were full of festivity.

During his visit to J&K on 12 – 13 March, Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner Sh. Rajiv Kumar, had stressed on to make electoral participation of all sections of the society and of all geographical regions and effort was made ensure the same. Youths, especially first time voter, women, elderlies and specially abled persons, tribal and migrants were seen in large numbers at all PS and required basic facilities were provided at all polling stations.

Additionally, in order to ensure inclusive voting, 17 number of polling booths managed by women (also called as pink polling stations), 15 number of polling booths managed by specially abled persons and 8 number of polling stations managed by youths were established. Also to spread the message about environmental concerns, 15 green polling stations were set up. To facilitate voter identification, apart from EPIC card, other documents such as Adhar card, Bank Passbooks, Driving License, PAN Card, Govt employee ID card etc documents were also allowed. Media facilitation was done through special passes for more than 600 journalists.

The democratic spirit has won over any kind of apprehension in the mind of the common Kashmiri voter. Despite terror incidence of Pahalgam, Shopian, Surankote-Mendhar in Poonch, which happened in this parliamentary constituency area, voters were seen coming in large numbers to vote. Anti-national elements failed to deter voters from exercising their constitutional rights. All candidates and parties were able to reach every nook and corner of the constituency during extended campaigning period from 5th may to 23rd May. Meticulous planning and execution of SVEEP activities was done and it ultimately has resulted in a significant increase in the voter turnout. SMS Blast on mobile though telecom companies, hoarding, flex, nukkad natak, street play, painting competition, various sports competitions, rally etc has translated into an increase overall voter turnout. The spirit of democracy has triumphed and not even a single incident of stone pelting or any kind of violence has been reported on poll day.

The enthusiasm among the political parties, who are an important stakeholder in the democratic process can be gauged from the fact that a record number of applications regarding various permissions have been received on the Suvidha portal and they were facilitated to hold public meetings/ rallies etc in all nook and corner of the constituency. The campaigning in Anantnag PC have been violence free and has witnessed historic participation from the voters.

There were more than 26,000 Kashmiri migrants electors in PC- who opted for voting at 26 Special Polling Stations established at Jammu (21), Udhampur (01) and Delhi (04). At these 26 special polling stations, there was voter turnout of 40 % at Jammu and around 50 % at Udhampur and 53 % at Delhi. It is for the first time that the migrant community has turned for vote in such a large numbers.

The CEO- J&K in his message congratulated all the voters and expressed gratitude towards all those voters who came in large numbers to cast their votes. He also appreciated work done by all the Polling personnel, including security personnel deployed in the election process, Police officers, ARO, RO and District Election Officers for their service in making the ongoing elections successful.

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