cities

Turnout drops to 3.5% in Kashmir civic polls

In the third phase, 365 candidates were in the fray for 96 wards of eight civic bodies, spread across Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla and Jammu districts. The final phase is on October 16.

The boycott by J&K’s main regional parties, National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), impacted these elections, as 49 wards remained uncontested. Separatists had also called for a boycott and issued a shutdown call, impacting the normal life.

The impact was visible in volatile Anantnag’s Aishmuqam tehsil where out of 13 wards, eight remained uncontested.

“Anantnag saw only 3.2% and Srinagar 1.8% turnout,” said an official.

The only positive turnout came from Kashmir Valley’s Uri, close to the Line of Control, where voters participation touched 75.3% . Women showed equal enthusiasm in the elections here. “Our area is backward. We voted with the hope this these civic bodies will address the issues of basic amenities,” said Asma Bi, a resident of Uri.

Omar blames Centre

NC vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah blamed the Centre’s handling of Kashmir for the poor turnout.

“From the highest turnouts since 1987 in 2014 to the lowest turnouts ever recorded in 2018, why is the Modi government able to get away with its disastrous handing of Kashmir almost unquestioned?” Mr Omar Abdullah said.

Militant killed

One militant was killed and another injured in an operation in Pulwama, while a policeman was killed in his house by unknown gunmen in Baramulla.

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