Voting is brisk in Udhampur, muted in Srinagar

Srinagar: National Conference (NC) leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah show their inked fingers after casting their votes for the second phase of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, at a polling station at Sonwar in Srinagar, on April 18, 2019.

Jammu/Srinagar,  People voted in large numbers on Thursday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur Lok Sabha seat but polling was muted in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

A healthy voter turnout was reported in Kathua, Reasi, Udhampur, Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar districts of Udhampur where over 12 per cent voters exercised franchise during the first three hours until 10 a.m.

The main contest in Udhampur is between Jitendra Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Vikramaditya Singh of the Congress. Eight other candidates are also in the fray.

In Srinagar, only 0.9 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the first three hours.

Most polling stations in the eight voting segments of Srinagar city wore a deserted look although at some places voters came out in ones and twos to exercise their democratic right.

Over 1,000 people voted in Chrar-e-Sharief while over 1,200 voted in Khansahib segment in Badgam district.

In Kangan and Ganderbal, however, a good voter turnout is expected. But not many voters were seen in polling booths in Ganderbal and Kangan towns.

The battle for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat is mainly triangular involving Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, Syed Aga Mohsin of the Peoples Democratic Party and Irfan Raza Ansari of the Peoples Conference.

A total of 12 candidates are in the race in Srinagar.

When voting started at 7 a.m., voters kept away from polling stations in Srinagar city but voted in large numbers in Kathua, Reasi and Udhampur.

There was enthusiastic voting in the Udhampur constituency in both urban and rural segments including Kathua, Reasi, Udhampur, Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts.

Officials said they expect voting to pick up as the day warms up.

Securing polling stations, providing safe passage to voters and preventing militants from disrupting the elections are the main challenges faced in Srinagar constituency.

Separatists have called for a boycott of the elections to highlight the Kashmir issue.