Udhampur polls leave 12 injured
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Low voter turnout, and a bomb explosion which left a dozen civilians wounded, marked polling in Jammu and Kashmir's hilly Udhampur constituency on Wednesday.
Polling had to be cancelled in eight snowbound booths of Wadwan area in Doda district as poll material and staff could not be airlifted. The counting is scheduled for March 21.
Government spokesman K B Jandial
said between 30 to 35 per cent votes were polled.
In the morning, militants lobbed a powerful grenade at a polling booth for women, near the Jama Masjid in Kishtawar town. Balloting in other parts of the constituency was peaceful.
People in large numbers came out in the Kathya district of Udhampur to cast votes. Over 31 per cent voting was recorded in
Kathua. Of this, 20 per cent was cast in the evening.
Voting percentage was low in the Doda district. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference's poll boycott call is perceived as the major reason for this.
Observers feel the low polling in the constituency would help Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Professor Chaman Lal Gupta, who has a close contest from National Conference's R S Chib. The NC had been banking on the votes in Doda district.
Authorities had made elaborate security arrangements for peaceful polling. Thousands of paramilitary and police troops remained deployed throughout the constituency.
The polling in Udhampur, originally scheduled on March 7, was postponed due to bad weather.
Meanwhile in Srinagar, a strike called by the APHC to protest against the polls crippled normal life. Shops remains closed and traffic was off the roads.
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