Over 35.01 per cent of the 13.12 lakh electorate cast their votes Thursday in the election for the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu and Kashmir as the polling concluded peacefully, barring a minor clash between supporters of two candidates, officials said. The voter turnout for the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency was 35.01 per cent, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shaliendra Kumar told reporters here.
The turnout this year has seen a decline compared to 2014 when 39.6 per cent of the electorate had exercised their franchise. A senior election official said the polling concluded peacefully with only one incident of a clash between supporters of the National Conference and People's Conference reported from Inderkote area of Bandipora district.
He said the situation was brought under control by the security forces and polling resumed within minutes of the incident. The Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency is spread over 15 assembly segments in three districts of north Kashmir.
As far as district-wise numbers are concerned, the seven assembly segments in Baramulla district registered a cumulative turnout of 24.02 per cent during polling which began at 7.00 am and ended at 6.00 pm, the official said. In Bandipora district, which has three assembly segments, a poll percentage of 31.83 per cent was recorded, he said.
The five assembly constituencies of Kupwara district had polled nearly 48 per cent votes till 5.00 pm, he added. The constituency will send a first-time parliamentarian to the Lok Sabha as none of the nine candidates in the fray has earlier been elected to either Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.
Those in the fray include Muhammad Akbar Lone of National Conference, Farooq Ahmad Mir of Congress, Raja Aijaz Ali of People's Conference, Mohammad Maqbool War of BJP, Jahangir Khan of NPP, Abdul Qayoom Wani of PDP and independent candidates Javid Ahmad Qureshi, Syed Najeeb Shah Naqvi and Abdul Rashid Sheikh. PPD stalwart Muzaffar Hussain Baig had won the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Baramulla constituency but he chose not to seek reelection. Baig had defeated his nearest rival Sharief-ud-Din Shariq of National Conference by a margin of 29,219 votes.
While the 2014 elections in this north Kashmir constituency was a virtual head-on contest between the PDP and NC, it is a multi-cornered contest this time around with emergence of People's Conference as the third regional force in Kashmir. Former MLA from Langate Abdul Rashid Sheikh's decision to fight the Lok Sabha polls has spiced up the contest as former IAS officer Shah Faesal has extended support of his newly formed Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement to him.
Authorities established 1,749 polling stations at 1,387 locations for over 13.12 lakh voters to exercise their franchise.
(With inputs from agencies.)