11.69 lakh votes polled in Udhampur seat with massive 70.2 pc turnout

An unending queue of voters at Ghagwal near Hiranagar on Thursday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
An unending queue of voters at Ghagwal near Hiranagar on Thursday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Dr Jitendra, Vikramaditya’s fate sealed in peaceful polling

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Apr 18: An estimated 11.69 lakh votes were polled out of a total of 16.65 lakh recording voting percentage of 70.2 in Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary constituency, which went to polls today in second phase of general elections. Like Jammu-Poonch seat, voting was completely violence-free but complaints of malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were received from some places but they were addressed timely by the Election Commission officials.

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Overall voting turnout for Udhampur and Srinagar Parliamentary seats stood at 45.7 percent.
Fate of 12 candidates including Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh (BJP), Vikramaditya Singh (Congress), Choudhary Lal Singh (Dogra Swabhiman Front) and Harshdev Singh (Nationalist Panthers Party) was sealed in the EVMs for Udhampur seat and would be known on May 23, the date of counting for all Lok Sabha seats across the country.
Dr Jitendra Singh is seeking second term from Udhampur-Doda seat while Vikramaditya Singh is contesting maiden election to Lok Sabha though he had been member of the Legislative Council earlier.
Official figures released by the Election Commission revealed that out of a total of 16,65,489 electorates in Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat, 11,69,182 were polled recording 70.2 percent, a decline of 1.8 percent as compared to 2014 elections. The Assembly segments of Kathua, Billawar, Basohli, Ramnagar and Udhampur saw an increase in the voting percentage while the turnout declined in Assembly constituencies of Doda, Bhaderwah, Banihal, Gulabgarh and Gool-Arnas this time as compared to last Lok Sabha elections.
In 2014 polls, 10.43 lakh votes were cast from a total of 14.55 lakh.
Highest voter turnout of 79.7 pc was recorded in Reasi Main Assembly constituency while lowest polling percentage of 50.9 was reported from Banihal segment of Ramban district. In the previous election, Banihal had witnessed 61.9 percent voting.
Second highest voting of 79.3 percent was recorded in Udhampur Main followed by 79.2 percent in Kathua Main Assembly segments. Turnout was 75 percent in Udhampur segment last time.
Contrary to this, Doda and Bhaderwah Assembly constituencies recorded only 66.3 and 62.4 percent turnout this time as compared to 71.4 and 69.3 percent in 2014. Gulabgarh and Gool-Arnas Assembly constituencies in Reasi district accounted for 66.2 and 68.2 voting percentage today while the turnout in these two segments during last election was 84 and 81 percent respectively that indicates a sharp decline of 18 percent in Gulabgarh and 13 percent in Gool-Arnas.
Turnout also saw slight decline in Inderwal and Kishtwar Assembly constituencies of Kishtwar district. In today’s voting Kishtwar segment recorded 65.7 and Inderwal 66.6 percent polling as compared to 66.3 and 69.2 percent of 2014.
In Kathua district, a total of 3.53 lakh votes were polled followed by 2.54 lakh in Udhampur district and 1.90 lakh in Reasi district. About 1.2 lakh votes were polled in Kishtwar district, 1.35 lakh in Doda district and 1.12 lakh in Ramban district.
Inspector General of Police, Jammu Zone, MK Sinha told the Excelsior that voting was completely peaceful in all six districts of Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary seat with no incident of violence reported from anywhere. Polling also passed off peacefully in Kishtwar district, which was still under night curfew following the killings of RSS top functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO Rajinder Kumar on April 9 by the militants.
“There was no terror incident or any other kind of violence in any part of the constituency today,” Sinha said, adding that nearly 200 additional companies of para-military forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police had been deployed to ensure smooth conduct of the elections.
Curfew was relaxed in Kishtwar town and outskirts from 6 am to 8 pm to facilitate smooth polling. Curfew was re-imposed at 8 pm, SSP Kishtwar, Shakti Pathak said.
People in large number came out to exercise their right to franchise in Kishtwar district. As soon as curfew restrictions were relaxed at 6 am, people started coming out of their houses to cast their votes. As polling started at 7 am, large queues could be seen in the areas, where curfew had been imposed following the killings.
Significantly, the family members of martyred RSS leader Chanderkant Sharma cast their votes at Kishtwar after performing the post-death rituals on 10th day. Surikant Sharma, elder brother of the deceased RSS leader, demanded that the killers of Chanderkant and Rajinder should be arrested immediately and hanged, which will be a real tribute to the Indian democracy as well as the RSS leader, who gave up his life for the nation.
Led by Chanderkant Sharma’s mother, Vidya Devi, seven family members walked to polling station No. 5 at veterinary hospital in the town and cast their votes.
“My brother laid down his life for the country. It is our right and duty to cast vote. Even in this situation we still voted,” Surikant Sharma said.
The distraught family said they were voting for the government and police to bring his killers to justice.
Surikant said he hoped the Government will arrest the killers as soon as possible and hang them. “Our vote is for that,” he added.
They asserted that Sharma was brave and never feared the threats of terrorists in Kishtwar.
The family, before coming to polling station, performed the 10th day rituals of Chanderkant in which large number of the people took part Thursday morning.
Vidya Devi was accompanied by Surikant Sharma, daughters, Chander Kala and Jyotsana Devi, daughter–in-law Anju Devi and Pranav Sharma to the polling station.
In Bhaderwah town also, polling remained peaceful despite last night’s minor tension, which was defused by civil and police administration.
SSP Doda Shabir Malik said security had been intensified in all polling stations of Bhaderwah but the voting ended peacefully.
There was massive enthusiasm among the people in Bhaderwah and Doda for the voting with people in some of the polling stations waiting for an hour or even more to cast their votes.
A group of people also staged protest for not setting up polling station at Talwara (Reasi) for over 600 migrant voters. “No polling station was setup at Talwara migrant camp for voting. We have 673 votes here. The Deputy Commissioner Reasi first promised us polling station but later refused. We were told that buses will be given to us for ensuring voting at our places, but no vehicles were sent,” a migrant leader said.
The protesters raised slogans against district authorities of Reasi and the Election Commission.
Sources said the Election Commission officials and the district administration received several complaints of mal-functioning of the EVMs from various polling stations. However, the complaints were immediately addressed as they were either replaced or the fault was rectified by the engineers.
At village Chajlu in Mahore tehsil of Reasi district, people held massive demonstration against mal-functioning of the EVM. However, authorities replaced the EVM and assured to give extra time for voting if some people were left from casting their votes. In one of the polling stations of Kathua district, some people claimed that votes cast to any of the candidates were being polled in favour of the BJP. Authorities, however, denied the charge but replaced the EVM.
Voters in border district of Kathua and Udhampur turned up in large numbers at polling booths this morning to exercise their franchise.
Authorities ordered suspension of two poll officials including a Presiding Officer for dereliction of duty in Kishtwar and disengaged a Special Police Officer (SPO). DC Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana ordered suspension of Presiding Officer Aghazahid Rehman for not performing his election duty with responsibility and Physical Education Teacher Karnail Singh for violation of Model Code of Conduct.
SPO Mohammad Ashraf was disengaged as he was found attending an election rally of a political party.
It was virtually festival like atmosphere in the border belt, where people especially the women well dressed-up, like marriage functions and festivals, stood up in queues for as long as one and a half hours in some of the polling stations to cast their votes. Equal was enthusiasm among young as well as elder voters, who were ready to spend any time in the queue but were determined to use their voting right.

Total Votes Polled
Parliamentary District Assembly Total Total Poll
Constituency Segment Electors Votes % age
Udhampur Kishtwar Kishtwar 86251 56673 65.7%
Udhampur Kishtwar Inderwal 95500 63597 66.6%
District Kishtwar Total 181751 120270 66.2%
Udhampur Doda Doda 93782 62148 66.3%
Udhampur Doda Bhaderwah 117648 73457 62.4%
District Doda Total 211430 135605 64.1%
Udhampur Ramban Ramban 100123 67270 67.2%
Udhampur Ramban Banihal 89817 45729 50.9%
District Ramban Total 189940 112999 59.5%
Udhampur Reasi Gulab Garh 77402 51257 66.2%
Udhampur Reasi Reasi 115975 92426 79.7%
Udhampur Reasi Gool Arnas 68631 46821 68.2%
District Reasi Total 262008 190504 72.7%
Udhampur Udhampur Udhampur 116837 92679 79.3%
Udhampur Udhampur Chenani 100067 74651 74.6%
Udhampur Udhampur Ram Nagar 123188 87082 70.7%
District Udhampur Total 340092 254412 74.8%
Udhampur Kathua Bani 47866 31386 65.6%
Udhampur Kathua Basohli 82704 56387 68.2%
Udhampur Kathua Kathua 126793 100362 79.2%
Udhampur Kathua Billawar 106530 78494 73.7%
Udhampur Kathua Hira Nagar 116375 88763 76.3%
District Kathua Total 480268 355392 74.0%
Srinagar Ganderbal Kangan 77026 18122 23.5%
Srinagar Ganderbal Ganderbal 98883 12839 13.0%
District Ganderbal Total 175909 30961 17.6%
Srinagar Srinagar Hazratbal 103393 9777 9.5%
Srinagar Srinagar Zadibal 78884 6512 8.3%
Srinagar Srinagar Eidgah 61264 2105 3.4%
Srinagar Srinagar Khanyar 47944 4358 9.1%
Srinagar Srinagar Habbakadal 56574 2413 4.3%
Srinagar Srinagar Amirakadal 90865 4425 4.9%
Srinagar Srinagar Sonawar 82372 10306 12.5%
Srinagar Srinagar Batamaloo 127908 10073 7.9%
District Srinagar Total 649204 49969 7.7%
Srinagar Budgam Chadoora 88752 8751 9.9%
Srinagar Budgam Budgam 108327 20413 18.8%
Srinagar Budgam Beerwah 98698 23281 23.6%
Srinagar Budgam Khansahib 91166 22182 24.3%
Srinagar Budgam Chrar-i-Sharif 81879 26286 32.1%
District Budgam Total 468822 100913 21.5%
A Srinagar PC Total 1293935 181843 14.1%
B Udhampur PC Total 1665489 1169182 70.2%
Phase II Total 2959424 1351025 45.7%