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First phase polls: Huge voter turnout recorded in both Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir

New Delhi:  Jammu and Kashmir today notched up one its “highest” polling figures with over 70 per cent voting recorded in the first phase of Assembly polls while a turnout of about 62 percent was
PTI November 25, 2014 20:39 IST

New Delhi:  Jammu and Kashmir today notched up one its “highest” polling figures with over 70 per cent voting recorded in the first phase of Assembly polls while a turnout of about 62 percent was registered in Jharkhand. 

“The total voting percentage in the first phase of polls in Jammu and Kashmir is 70 per cent. It seems to be the highest figure (vis-a-vis polling in the state). We expect this number to go up...may be by another two-three percentage points,” Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi told reporters here.

These figures, he said, were compiled a “little before 5pm.”

He said the figures in all the 15 assembly seats that went to polls in J & K today, spread over 7 districts, saw an increase in voting percentage as compared to the last Assembly polls held in 2008 in the state and the Lok Sabha elections held early this year.

“The LS polls saw 52.63 per cent polling while 2008 Assembly elections witnessed 64.97 per cent polling in these fifteen constituencies which went to polls today,” he said.

Zutshi said the final figures are being compiled as “communication” links go down in these areas as these regions are one of the most difficult and mountainious.

The EC also called the polling held today in JK as “hundred per cent flawless” as there was not a single incident reported which could have “vitiated” the polls process.  “There were some minor clashes here and there. There were some incidents of bursting of fire crackers in Bandipora, nothing else,” he said when asked if there were any security-related incidents reported to them.  

In Jharkhand, where 13 constituencies spread across six districts went to polls in the 1st phase, a 61.92 percent of polling was recorded, with the figures expected to up.  Deputy EC in-charge of Jharkhand Umesh Sinha said there two incidents were reported from the state, in Palamu and Chhatra districts, which could require re-polling.

“In Palamu some miscreants damaged the control unit of an EVM while in three places in Chhatra, voting was boycotted and a 12-kg IED was recovered,” Sinha said.  Zutshi said the poll-panel was enthused by the fact that there were “no incidents” of calls for poll boycott in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The higher percentage of voting in JK is because of the combined effort of everyone along with good security and voter awareness efforts undertaken by the EC,” he said.

The EC said a total of 43 air sorties were made by military choppers (Mi-17 and Chetak) to transport poll officials and security teams at various locations in poll-bound booths of Leh, Kargil, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban.

Zutshi said there may not be a necessity to order a re-poll in any of these 15 constituencies as things went smoothly but a final call will be taken during the scrutiny tomorrow morning.

A total of Rs 55 lakh, he said, has been seized in the state till now while a “minimal” quantity of liquor intercepted by EC-deployed teams as part of its measures to check black money and illegal inducements to voters.  The total number of electors in today's polling in JK were 10.61 lakh while the total candidates in fray were 123, he said.

“The elctoral process in JK today was absolutely peaceful and was without violence,” he said.

The Deputy EC in-charge of JK said a 121-year-old woman, identified as Noor Bi, came out to vote at a polling booth in Kabhi in Ramban assembly constituency.  In Jharkhand, Sinha said, the turnout was “quite encouraging.”

“In the last assembly elections in 2009, 58 per cent of voting was reported in these seats while the voter turnout was 34 per cent higher this time as compared to the Lok sabha polls held early this year,” Sinha said.

A total of Rs 81,69,529 was seized in the Naxal violence-affected state while liquor worth Rs 97 lakh (1.21 lakh litres) and drugs worth Rs 4.90 lakh were seized by EC-appointed teams and flying squads, he said, adding a total of 137 FIRs were registered by the police as part of election expenditure monitoring measures.

A dozen cases of paid news were also reported in the state, Sinha said.

In JK, Zutshi said, paid news cases “were not too many to be reported.”

The districts that went to polls in Jharkhand today include Chatra, Gumla, Lohardaga, Latehar, Palamu and Garhwa.

Commenting on the encouraging voters' turnout in both the states, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said people have shown they reject the ideology of terror and violence.  “Defying threats from militants and Naxals, the people of J and K and Jharkhand have rejected the ideology of terror and violence. People want change.

“Happy to learn of the huge turnout in the first round of voting in J and K and Jharkhand today. It is a positive sign for our democracy,” he said.

Here we are giving you live updates of the first phase polling