In the first two hours of voting in phase three of Lok Sabha polls, not a single vote was cast in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ananatnag Lok Sabha constituency, a hotbed of militant activities, while former chief minister Omar Abdullah urged people to ‘vote to give anger a voice’.
“To the voters of Anantnag, please don’t reward the death, destruction & deceit of the last 4 years by staying home & boycotting the election. Come out & vote to give your anger a voice. Vote for the best candidate in the field, vote for @masoodi_hasnain,” Abdullah tweeted while seeking votes for his candidate.
Due to volatile security situation in the constituency, the voting will be held in three phases in the constituency beginning Tuesday. The EC has also curtailed the voting time by two and ensured highest security in the constituency.
Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Big fights to watch out for in Phase 3 of voting
115 constituencies across 15 states and Union Territories will go to polls in the third, and biggest, phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
The voting percentage figures released by the Election Commission showed 0% voting in Anantnag at 9 am as voters stayed indoors and its 1,842 polling booths wore a deserted look.
Former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti is among the 18 candidates, whose fate is to be decided by 5.3 lakh voters in the Anantnag district who will go out to vote on Tuesday.
The high-profile elections are crucial for the political future of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Mehbooba.
Considered a PDP bastion, Mehbooba Mufti had won from here in 2014 defeating NC candidate Mehboob Beg by more than 65,000 votes. Later in the assembly elections, the polling in south Kashmir was about 39% and the PDP got the highest vote share in south Kashmir. When Mehbooba became J&K chief minister in 2016 after her father’s demise, she got elected from her father’s assembly seat and vacated her Lok Sabha seat with an intention to field her younger brother Tasaduq Mufti from there.
But, the by-election could not be held due to the fragile security situation in the state.
This time Mufti is tied in a three-cornered contest with NC candidate Justice Hasnain Masoodi (retd) and Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir.
The BJP has also fielded its only Muslim legislator from Kashmir, Sofi Yousuf, from the constituency. However, the party has no strong base in south Kashmir.