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regular-article-logo Saturday, 15 June 2024

Srinagar voter turnout: Valley politicians contest PM Modi’s Article 370 claim

The Srinagar Lok Sabha seat clocked a 38.3 per cent turnout, the second highest since the inception of militancy, prompting Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah, among others, to take credit

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 15.05.24, 06:01 AM
Supporters of jailed politician and Baramulla candidate Sheikh Abdul Rashid alias Engineer Rashid at a rally helmed by his son Abrar Rashid in Bandipora. Abrar’s rallies are attracting thousands and has turned the election into a three-way fight between Engineer Rashid, Omar Abdullah and Sajad Lone. “Tihar ka badla vote se denge (We will exact revenge of the Tihar incarceration through votes)” is their rallying cry. Engineer Rashid, a former MLA, is booked in a militancy case and lodged in Tihar jail.

Supporters of jailed politician and Baramulla candidate Sheikh Abdul Rashid alias Engineer Rashid at a rally helmed by his son Abrar Rashid in Bandipora. Abrar’s rallies are attracting thousands and has turned the election into a three-way fight between Engineer Rashid, Omar Abdullah and Sajad Lone. “Tihar ka badla vote se denge (We will exact revenge of the Tihar incarceration through votes)” is their rallying cry. Engineer Rashid, a former MLA, is booked in a militancy case and lodged in Tihar jail. Sourced by the Telegraph.

Valley politicians have contested the claim of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP ministers that the higher voter turnout in the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat was linked to the abrogation of Article 370.

Kashmiri politicians argued that anger against the contentious move had driven up the numbers.

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The Srinagar Lok Sabha seat clocked a 38.3 per cent turnout, the second highest since the inception of militancy, prompting Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah, among others, to take credit.

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti hailed Monday's turnout as “good” but said people had been feeling suffocated since 2019.

“People wanted to send a message to Delhi that your decision in 2019, or other decisions after that related to our land, state subject (status), jobs are not acceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Rajouri-Poonch and Jammu,” she told reporters in Kashmir.

Mehbooba complained the turnout would have been higher but the polling process was slowed down at several places.

“Wherever the gatherings outside booths were large, they slowed the polling deliberately because it was a sign they were casting votes for the PDP (her party),” she said. She asked the voters in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency to not leave the polling booth without voting even if they had to stand for 10 hours.

“They (people) want to take their voice to Parliament through ballots and tell them we are being oppressed, facing hardships," she said.

She hoped Anantnag-Rajouri, where she is contesting against National Conference's Mian Altaf, would also witness a good turnout. The constituency votes on May 25.

NC’s Srinagar candidate Aga Ruhullah claimed people had spoken (against the Centre) through their votes.

Modi has applauded voters in Srinagar for an encouraging turnout, which he noted was “significantly better than before”.

“The abrogation of Article 370 has enabled the potential and aspirations of the people to find full expression. Happening at the grassroots level, it is great for the people of J&K, in particular the youth,” the Prime Minister wrote on X.

Shah on Tuesday said the Modi government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 was showing results in the poll percentage.

“It has enhanced people’s trust in democracy and its roots have deepened in Jammu and Kashmir,” he wrote on X.

Srinagar had recorded 14.43 per cent polling in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, 25.86 per cent in 2014, 25.55 per cent in 2009 and 18.57 per cent in 2004. The highest turnout of 40.9 per cent, recorded since militancy spread its tentacles, was in 1996 but it was controversial as there were reports of bogus voting.

A former law professor at Central University, Dr Sheikh Showkat, claimed the turnout was proof of the prevailing boycott.

“Despite no call for boycott, 62 per cent of Srinagar voters were indifferent to the election. It may be more than recent elections, it surely remains far less than the pre-militancy normal period. In the 1984 Lok Sabha election it was 73 per cent,” he posted on X.

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