Deserted View of Polling Station in Pulwama. Photo Courtesy: Kamran Yousuf
Among the 10 districts of Kashmir division, Pulwama witnessed lowest turnout with 1.91% cent of votes cast on May 6. The last round of the Lok Sabha polls in the Valley was conducted under heavy deployment of forces and amid the strike called by Hurriyat leaders.
Shopian, Pulwama and Leh from the state voted in the fifth phase of elections.
A complete shutdown was witnessed in South Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama districts. All the business establishments remained closed, and local and private transport remained off the road. However, heavy movement of armed vehicles was seen in both the districts.
Prior to the polling, internet services in the area were snapped.
In the wee hours of the morning, unidentified people reportedly hurled a grenade at a polling station in Rahmoo, in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
As per reports, the grenade was lobbed towards the polling station situated in the Government Middle School, Rahmoo. No injuries were reported.
Just 9.3 kilometre away from Rahmoo, another grenade was hurled at a polling station at Chatapora, another village of Pulwama district. No injuries were reported in this incident either.
Another attack was reported in the Shopian district as well. All the attacks were reported during the initial hours of polling.
About 97% of people boycotted Lok Sabha elections in both the districts.
Turnout in the last phase of polling in both the districts was 3%. However, the total in both Anantnag and Ladakh constituencies was 15.2%.
In Pulwama town – which was once the hub of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – witnessed only six votes out of which four were polled by PDP workers. Presiding officers were seen sleeping at polling booths in various areas.
A political worker of PDP who was present at the polling station in Central High School Pulwama told NewsClick that the main reason behind PDP losing its ground in Pulwama is its coalition with Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP).
“People from Pulwama, who had voted in 2014, complained that PDP MLA Khalil Bandh didn’t do anything for the people here. But the main reason is coalition,” he said.
A day before polling, election staff carrying EVMs for 24 polling stations were airlifted in helicopters from District Police Lines, Shopian and dropped in subdivision Zainapora.
Zainapora is considered as the most volatile zone of the Shopian district.
It was the first time when such an activity was carried out.
As per reports, youth pelted stones at the staff travelling in armed vehicles in many other parts of the Pulwama and Shopian.
The twin districts of Pulwama and Shopian are spread over six Assembly segments: Tral, Pampore, Pulwama, Rajpora, Wachi and Shopian.
Towards the end of the five phased elections, the total turnout in 10 districts of Kashmir was recorded as follows: