Lok Sabha Election 2024 Phase 5: With 59.5 Per Cent Polling, Baramulla Moves Towards Fresh Record

In Baramulla, former Chief Minister and National Conference chief Omar Abdullah faces the PDP's Faiyaz A Mir, People's Conference chief Sajad Ghani Lone, and Awami Ittehad Party chief, Engineer Rashid, who has been in Tihar Jail since 2019


Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla is set to break all records as people turned out in droves to vote in the Lok Sabha election -- the first since the scrapping of the Article 370 that gave the erstwhile state its special status. Till 6  pm, 59.49 per cent people have voted -- the highest since 1984. The  figure is set to go higher .

In 1996, the polling figure for the constituency was 50 per cent. In 2019, only 34 per cent people had voted.

In Baramulla, former Chief Minister and National Conference chief Omar Abdullah faces People's Conference chief Sajad Ghani Lone, and Awami Ittehad Party chief Engineer Rashid, who has been in Delhi's Tihar jail since 2019 in connection with a terror funding case.  

At Baramulla's Palhalan, a village known for stone pelting and deadly clashes between protesters and security forces, huge crowds were seen at the polling station. It is first time in 30 years that the village has embraced polling instead of boycott.

At Sopore's Seeloo, a separatist hotbed, Farooq Ahmad, who is in early 40s, said it is the first time he is voting. "Earlier, we used to boycott polls. Today, all of us have come to repose our faith in democracy," he said.

Many who voted today wanted police cases against them on stone pelting charges withdrawn. At Singpora, a man with six First Information Reports against him in stone pelting cases, turned up to vote.

"I want to send Omar Abdullah a message that we have voted for you so you will help 2,200 men from this area who are facing FIRs on stone pelting charges," he said.

Last week, the Srinagar constituency broke all records. In absence of any boycott call from separatists or fear of violence, the voting figure rose to 38 per cent -- a first in 35 years. Srinagar had recorded 14 per cent polling in the last general election.

The high turnout in state points to a latent enthusiasm for democracy that had been suppressed over the years when terror ruled, the locals say. Many say they are also out to prove a point. Jammu and Kashmir has not had an elected government since the alliance government of People's Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti and the BJP collapsed.

In the intervening years, Article 370 was scrapped and the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories. The political parties in the Kashmir has made it clear that this election would be about the loss of statehood and special status. Omar Abdullah has made it central to his campaign, saying the revocation of special status is an "existential threat to the people of Jammu and Kashmir".

The BJP, which is not contesting from any seat in Kashmir Valley, also says the election is a referendum to the scrapping of Article 370, and the turnout proves its point that it has helped the return of law and order.er the election for the Srinagar seat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a post on X, formerly Twitter, had congratulated the people, saying, "The abrogation of Article 370 has enabled the potential and aspirations of the people to find full expression. Happening at the grassroots level, it is great for the people of J&K, in particular the youth".