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Nearly 40 per cent migrant Kashmiri Pandits turn out to vote in Anantnag-Rajouri

Jammu, May 25: Nearly 40 per cent of migrant Kashmiri Pandits cast their ballots in the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency during the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Saturday.

 

This represents a significant increase in voter turnout compared to the 2019, 2014, and 2009 elections.

 

The completion of voting in Anantnag-Rajouri marks the end of the electoral process in the Union Territory, with polling already concluded in its four other constituencies.

 

“Nearly 40 per cent polling was registered by Kashmiri migrants for the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency,” Relief Commissioner Arvind Karwani told PTI.

 

He said that out of the 27,000 eligible voters in the community, around 40 per cent exercised their franchise. In terms of figures, more than 10,000 votes were cast.

 

Polling commenced at 7 am across 34 special polling stations set up for migrant Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu, Udhampur, and Delhi. Thirty-four polling stations were established for migrants, including 21 in Jammu, four in Delhi, one in Udhampur, and eight auxiliary stations.

 

The process was conducted peacefully, Karwani, who supervised polling process by undertaking visits to various polling stations, said.

 

Despite a heatwave pushing temperatures to 42 degrees Celsius, many Kashmiri Pandits turned out to vote early in the day, showing strong support for the creation of townships for their return and rehabilitation.

 

Independent candidate Dilip Pandita staged a brief protest at a polling station in Jagti township, alleging that BJP leaders at polling stations were directing people to vote for a candidate with the election symbol bat.

 

“Please remove them from here. What business do they have here? They are telling people to vote on the bat symbol,” Pandita protested. He even blocked the vehicle of former BJP legislator and Jammu and Kashmir BJP vice president G L Raina, who had visited the booth.

 

The number of votes polled in the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency on Saturday was higher than those in the previous Lok Sabha elections of 2019 and 2014. The constituency saw 51.88 per cent polling out of nearly 18.36 lakh voters, including 9.02 lakh women, who exercised their right of franchise at 2,338 polling stations across the constituency.

 

Twenty candidates are vying for the seat, with the main contest between PDP chief and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and prominent Gujjar leader and former minister Mian Altaf Ahmad of the National Conference (NC).–(PTI)

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