Anantnag, June 22: The morning’s shy trickle of voters on Wednesday gradually changed into small queues in rural areas of Anantnag assembly constituency in Jammu and Kashmir where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is contesting but the turnout in urban areas was very low.
In both the urban and rural segments, women voters outnumbered men, officials said. An Election Commission official put the voter turnout at noon at 20 per cent — compared to a poor four per cent in the first one hour.
At the Khanabal High School in Anantnag town, where two polling centres have been set up, women in ‘burqa’ formed the bulk of voters. The story was the same at Rambirpora, Krangsoo, Kehribal and several other places.
It seemed women were determined to defy the separatists’ calls to boycott the elections.
Speaking to mediapersons after voting, few people had doubts about Mehbooba Mufti’s victory.
“We know she will not solve international issues but will definitely address unemployment, education, healthcare and give us better roads, and she will also empower women,” said Shafeeqa Begum, 45.
Shafeeqa, however, believes — like many others — that a narrow victory margin could dent Mehbooba Mufti’s image as a popular Chief Minister whose PDP has its base in the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam.
The Muftis belong to the neighbouring Bijbehara town.