This Article is From Nov 25, 2014

Brisk Voter Turnout in Jammu and Kashmir; Jharkhand Votes Under High Security

Brisk Voter Turnout in Jammu and Kashmir; Jharkhand Votes Under High Security

People braved the cold and came out to vote in Jammu and Kashmir

For the first time in 25 years, people ignored a boycott call by separatists to line up in large numbers to vote in the first phase of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections today. In Jharkhand, over 59 per cent voted despite the shadow of Maoist violence.

Here are the 10 latest developments:

  1. Despite the bitter cold, the 15 seats of J&K where polling was held today recorded 51.2 per cent voter turnout till 2 pm. The state had recorded over 50 per cent in previous elections.

  2. No militancy-related incident was reported today. Polling was briefly disrupted at Barsoo in Ganderbal district after clashes broke out between two groups, but resumed soon. Elections were held today in six seats in the Jammu division, five segments in the Kashmir valley and four in Ladakh.

  3. For the first time there is a four-way battle between the Congress, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's National Conference, the Jammu & Kashmir People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP, which has set itself the target of winning 50 plus seats in the 87-member assembly, with an eye on forming government.

  4. In Jharkhand, polling was held in 13 of 81 constituencies in the first phase, all spread over six districts that are described as "Maoist-affected" - Palamau, Gumla, Lohardaga, Chatra, Garhwa and Latehar. Polling was held till 3 pm, under high security. Three helicopters made aerial surveys.

  5. As in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP hopes to replicate its success in the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections last month in Jharkhand. But while it has never before been seen as a major political player in J&K, in Jharkhand, the BJP has ruled for nine of the 14 years that the state has existed.

  6. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted this morning, "As polls begin in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand, I urge my sisters and brothers in these states to go out and vote in large numbers," and also, "I particularly call upon my young friends in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand to come out in large numbers and cast their votes."

  7. The Congress was part of the ruling alliance in both states in partnership with regional parties and in both, broke away just before the elections - from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) in October and the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir in July.

  8. In the national elections this year, the BJP registered its best performance ever in Jammu and Kashmir, winning three of six Lok Sabha seats. The PDP had won the other three, with the Congress-National Conference alliance routed. In Jharkhand, the BJP had won 12 of the 14 parliamentary seats.

  9. In the run-up to the J&K elections, the BJP tried to draw former separatists and fringe groups. Sajjad Lone, a former separatist and chief of the People's Conference, met PM Modi in Delhi. He has not ruled out a post-election alliance with the BJP.

  10. Elections in both states are being held in five phases till December 20. Votes will be counted on December 23.