Polling began on a sluggish note this morning, but picked up as the day progressed. Sixteen seats in the Valley and two in Jammu region are voting today.
The high turnout in Srinagar is historic and it will give legitimacy to elections in the state, said patron of the opposition People's Democratic Party Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. "There is fear of the BJP and hopes of a transparent government by the PDP that is driving voters today," he said.
While casting his vote at Sonwar, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said he missed his father, who was undergoing surgery in London for kidney ailment. "My thoughts are with my parents. I wish I could be there with them but that wasn't to be," he tweeted this morning.
Around 50 km from Srinagar, a visibly confident Mr Sayeed cast his vote at party bastion Anantnag. "The Modi wave is at the national level but Jammu and Kashmir has its own leadership. My party is getting full majority," he said.
The first two phases of the assembly elections had witnessed record turnouts. In the third phase, militant-dominated areas came out in large numbers to vote. Sopore had a record turnout of 30%.
This phase is to witness the big fight between the ruling National Conference (NC) and the opposition PDP. Srinagar is the bastion of the NC, the PDP is fighting to retain South Kashmir.
In 2008, of the 18 seats, National Conference won nine, the PDP six, the Congress two and the Panther's Party one. But the BJP, which is aiming to win majority in the state with over 50 seats, hopes to win a chunk.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited the state to attend an election rally on Saturday, tweeted, "There is immense enthusiasm across all parts of J&K for the BJP... Dynastic politics can never become the voice of people."
In Jharkhand, many of the 15 constituencies going to polls lie in the Naxal-hit belt. Of the over-3700 polling stations, 716 are marked highly sensitive and 2007, sensitive. Only 615 polling stations are located in urban areas.
The last phase of polling will be held on December 20. The counting of votes will take place on December 23.
SRINAGAR: An unprecedented number of first-time voters turned up at the polling booths of Srinagar, which is voting in the penultimate phase of assembly elections today. All eight constituencies of Srinagar are going to polls and over 18% polling was recorded within five hours - in 2008, the day's turnout was 20%. Till 2 pm, 37.5% voting was recorded in the state. Elections are also being held for 15 seats in Jharkhand, where 60% polling was recorded till 3 pm.