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J&K’s Baramulla, Long Associated with Separatism, Records All-Time High 59% Voter Participation

Baramulla Kashmir Lok Sabha
Photo: X

The Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu and Kashmir, historically known for militancy, witnessed history by recording its highest-ever voter turnout at 59 percent on a ‘violence-free’ polling day, according to the Union Territory’s Chief Electoral Officer, P K Pole. This turnout surpassed the previous high of 58.90 percent recorded in 1984.

A highlight of this election was the turnout in the Sopore assembly segment, reaching 44.36%. Sopore is known as a stronghold of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and serves as the hometown of prominent separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Chief Electoral Officer P K Pole said that the record turnout since the first parliamentary polls in Baramulla in 1967 demonstrates “the people’s faith in democracy.” He said that despite attempts by militants to disrupt the process just days before the election, the high voter turnout indicates the public’s resilience and commitment to democratic processes.

The Baramulla constituency, which has 17,37,865 registered voters and 22 candidates competing, includes 18 assembly segments across the districts of Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, and Budgam. Polling proceeded smoothly in all areas, achieving a historic zero-violence election day.

Specific assembly segments recorded varying levels of voter turnout. The Handwara segment in the Kupwara district saw the highest turnout at 67.50 percent, while Gurez recorded the lowest at 40.82 percent. Other notable turnouts included Langate at 66 percent, Sonawari at 64.61 percent, and Karnah at 61.53 percent, among others.

Key candidates in the fray for the Baramulla seat include Omar Abdullah, vice president of the National Conference; Sajad Gani Lone, president of the People’s Conference; and Sheikh Abdul Rashid, also known as Engineer Rashid, the jailed head of Awami Ittehad Party (AIP).

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