Jammu LS seat records nearly 72 pc polling

JAMMU — The Jammu parliamentary constituency, where 22 candidates are in the fray, saw peaceful polling and recorded nearly 72 per cent voter turnout on Friday in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections, officials said.

The overall polling figure in the constituency this time was lower than the last general election in 2019 when 74 per cent voters exercised their franchise.

The officials said voting was held in 2,416 polling stations in the constituency peacefully and 71.91 per cent votes were polled. There are more than 17.80 lakh eligible voters in the Jammu constituency.

“Despite scorching hot weather, enthusiastic voters from Jammu, Samba, Reasi, and Rajouri turned up in record numbers… Long queues formed at polling stations as people eagerly waited for their turn, with youngsters and first-time voters excitedly participating in this festival of democracy,” an official spokesperson said.

There are 22 candidates in the fray, including sitting MP Jugal Kishore Sharma, who is eyeing a third term after winning the seat for the BJP in 2014 and 2019.

The INDIA bloc fielded Jammu and Kashmir Congress working president Raman Bhalla from the seat.

This Lok Sabha election is the first major electoral battle in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh — on August 5, 2019.

The highest voter turnout of 79.43 per cent was recorded in the Shri Mata Vaishnodevi assembly segment, the officials said.

The Marh segment recorded 79.31 per cent polling, followed by Akhnoor with 78.27 per cent, Bishnah with 76.54 per cent, Suchetgarh with 75.94 per cent, Chham with 75.76 per cent, Vijaypur with 75.67 per cent, Nagrota with 75.63 per cent and Ramgarh with 75.27 per cent.

The lowest voter turnout was recorded in the Bahu segment at 62.34 per cent, the officials said.

Union minister Jitendra Singh cast his vote in the Trikutanagar area of Jammu. “This is the base of successful democracy and that is why it is called a festival… All the phases will turn out to be great for the BJP,” he told reporters here.

Sitting MP Sharma, who along with his family members voted at a polling booth set up at the Kishenpur government high school in Nagrota, said people should come out of their homes and contribute to a strong democracy by exercising their right to vote.

Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina, who visited a number of polling booths in Samba and Jammu districts, thanked people for coming out in large numbers to vote.

“People are coming out of their houses since the morning to vote. The enthusiasm is high,” he said.

Congress candidate Bhalla expressed happiness over the smooth polling process in the constituency.

“I am proud to say that this time hopefully, we will get the blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi. We will win the constituency. Reasi has been included in Jammu constituency so that we can get the blessings of Mata,” he added.

In a polling station in Reasi district, 102-year-old Haji Karamdin exercised his right to vote and said he was happy to cast his vote at the polling station at this age.

More than 15,000 poll staff have been deployed and foolproof security arrangements ensure free and fair polls, the officials said.

Of the 2,416 polling stations 158 were along the International Border and the Line of Control (LoC).

“Security and other related arrangements are in place to ensure free, fair and peaceful voting. A contingency plan has also been worked out to ensure no disruption in polling along the borders,” Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Pandurang K Pole said.

Around 1,454 polling stations have CCTV cameras for live webcasting and around 124 have two cameras for surveillance, they said.

The Jammu constituency is the second Lok Sabha seat in Jammu and Kashmir to go to polls this time. Polling was held in the Udhampur seat on April 19 and a voter turnout of more than 68 per cent was recorded. — (PTI)