Srinagar, April 13: Only 709 of the 35,169 electorate voted on Thursday during re-polling in the Srinagar-Budgam Lok Sabha constituency where widespread violence on Sunday left eight people dead.
Barely two per cent of the people voted in the 38 polling stations of Budgam district where re-polling had been ordered, an Election Commission official told IANS.
This is the lowest voting ever in Jammu and Kashmir, where a separatist campaign raging since 1989 — for which India blames Pakistan — has claimed thousands of lives.
Despite the deployment of some 20,000 security personnel, including paramilitary forces, few men and women ventured out of their homes to vote in the contest between National Conference President Farooq Abdullah and Nazir Ahmad Khan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The balloting began on a slow note — and remained so through the day. Just over 400 votes had been cast in four hours, this number crawling to 519 in six hours.
By the time the polling stations closed, the number of total voters was put at 709.
Separatists had called for a boycott of both Lok Sabha by-elections: the one held on Sunday in Srinagar-Budgam, leading to re-polling on Thursday, and in Anantnag, where by-election has been postponed from April 12 to May 25 following Sunday’s violence.
Only seven per cent of the electorate voted on Sunday in the Srinagar bypoll.
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