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64 percent polling in first phase of Jammu and Kashmir polls
Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
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November 17, 2008 08:34 IST
Last Updated: November 18, 2008 11:59 IST

The first phase of the Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Assembly elections recorded a 64 per cent voter turnout, according to an official spokesman late on Monday night.

The spokesman said Gurez constituency in the once terrorist-infested Bandipora district recorded the highest voting -- 74 per cent -- followed by Mendhar and Poonch (73), Surankote (68), Nobra (66) Leh, Kargil [Images] and Zanskar (all 60 per cent), Bandipora(57) and Sonawari (46).

Earlier, Chief Electoral Officer B R Sharma had told reporters in Srinagar [Images] that around 55 per cent polling was registered in the 10 constituencies but the figure was tentative and subject to revision once the final data comes in.

Sharma said Gurez constituency recorded 74 per cent vote followed by Mendhar (65), Poonch (64), Surankote (58), Kargil (57), Nobra (55), Leh (53), Zanskar(48) and Bandipora and Sonawari (42 each).

The huge turnout was despite freezing temperatures and separatists' boycott call. Voting passed off peacefully except for stray incidents of violence and protests amid threats of militants disrupting the polls which was held in a curfew-like situation in 10 constituencies spread over four districts of Bandipora, Poonch, Leh and Kargil.

Polling in the border state has been staggered over seven phases lasting up to December 24. 

J&K 1st phase polling on Monday in terror's shadow

Srinagar, Bandipora and other towns were almost totally locked down, as thousands of troops were out in force to prevent anti-election rallies. An estimated six lakh voters were eligible to vote in the first phase.

     IAF deploys helicopters for J&K elections

At least seven persons including a woman were injured as police fired a few teargas shells and used batons to disperse people protesting against holding of assembly elections in Bandipora district, official sources said.

The separatist co-ordination committee had given a call for 'Jehan election waha chalo' (march to where elections are). But the march to Bandipora, 65 km north of Srinagar town, was foiled by security forces.

Images: Early snow takes Kashmir by surprise

Additional Reportage: PTI

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