Baramulla Breaks Barriers By Ballot

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Srinagar: The polls in Baramulla parliamentary constituency concluded peacefully here Monday with around 59 percent voting in the districts of Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, and Budgam.

“Fractional correction is expected in the percentage figure, as at some of the polling stations voting continued even after 6 pm and many polling parties are yet to reach the reception centre. This remarkable participation marks a new era of peace and civic engagement in these districts,” read a communiqué issued here Monday by the office of J&K Chief Electoral Officer, Pandurang K Pole.

This year’s elections were conducted without any boycott calls or intimidation, showcasing the voters’ unwavering belief in the power of the ballot.

Not a single polling station reported zero votes, which is a testament to the widespread enthusiasm and commitment to the democratic process.

The corresponding percentage for the last Lok Sabha election in 2019 was 37.41 percent.

The highest ever poll percentage in Baramulla parliamentary constituency, since the eruption of terrorism in Kashmir was recorded in the year 1996 at 46.65 percent and in the history of the Baramulla parliamentary constituency, the highest poll percentage was 61.09 percent in the year 1984.

This year’s poll percentage is the second highest in the democratic history of the Baramulla parliamentary constituency and may likely be the highest, as final figures are yet to reach from remote areas while two assembly segments – Budgam and Beerwah have been added in recent delimitation, that makes it highest for the Baramulla parliamentary constituency in today’s size.

The CEO attributed this substantially increased record polling percentage to improved security – law and order environment in the last 4 to 5 years, mobilisation by 22 candidates and political parties, election awareness done by Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and CEO office through SVEEP activities and more importantly voters strong belief that it was the ballot which could lead to sustainable development (Aman, Tarraki aur Khushhali).

The communiqué said that the polling took place in 2103 polling stations across the Baramulla parliamentary constituency with live webcasting at all the polling stations.

Voting started at 7 am across the parliamentary constituency with long queues of enthusiastic voters waiting to cast their votes.

Demonstrating the spirit of democracy, the voters of Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, and Budgam showed up in record numbers to cast their votes in a significant show of faith in the election process. Since the beginning of the poll at 7 am, voters were seen standing in long queues at many polling stations across all four districts.

Elderly people, women, and youth were seen enthusiastically exercising their right to vote in a peaceful environment.

Chief Electoral Officer, J&K Pandurang K Pole monitored the progress of voting in the fifth phase across the parliamentary constituency from the Union Territory-level Command and Control Center established at ICCC- HMT, Bemina and CEO Office, Srinagar.

The Command and Control Center has been working 24×7 at Srinagar as well as Jammu since March 16 to ensure free, fair, and inducement-free elections.

The poll started at 7 am and after two hours of polling, 7.70 percent (it was without the Sopore assembly segment, as the AERO couldn’t upload it in time, however, it was included in next two hourly reporting times at 11 am) polling was recorded in the constituency at 9 am; at 11 am 21.56 percent of voting, at 1 pm 35.08 percent voting; at 3 pm 45.22 percent voting was recorded.

By 5 pm 54.57 percent polling was recorded in the constituency.

Assembly segment-wise wise highest poll percentage was observed in Handwara with around 72 percent and the lowest in Guru with 40.82 percent.

The figures against each assembly segment are tentative as postal votes polled during home voting, through EDC, postal ballot, ETPBs, and migrant votes polled at special polling stations are not added. Around 17,37,865 lakh electors were enrolled to cast their votes.

More than 8000 polling staff performed the poll duty.

Polling continued till 6 pm and at a few polling stations of Trehgam, till voting by the last voter standing in queue.

At every polling station, basic minimum facilities of water, electricity, toilet, ramp, verandah and waiting room were made.  Even wheelchairs and volunteers were provided as and when required.

The effort was made to give a better experience to voters.

In many polling station premises, it was seen that even small kids were accompanying their parents and playing on the premises.

Polling stations were full of festivity.

During his visit to J&K on March 12 and 13, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar stressed to ensure inclusive election and effort was made to ensure the same.

Youth, especially first-time voter, women, elderly people and Persons with Disabilities were seen in large numbers at all polling stations and required basic facilities were provided at all polling stations. Additionally, to ensure inclusive voting, 18 polling booths managed by women (also called as pink polling stations), 17 polling booths managed by PwDs, and 18 polling stations managed by youth were established.

Also to spread the message about environmental concerns, 18 green polling stations were set up.

To facilitate voter identification, apart from EPIC cards, other documents like Aadhaar cards, bank passbooks, driving licenses, PAN card, and government employee ID cards were also allowed.

Media facilitation was done through special passes for more than 600 journalists.

The democratic spirit has won over any kind of apprehension in the mind of the average Kashmiri voter. Despite the terror incidences of Pahalgam and Shopian, which happened just two days ago, voters were seen coming in large numbers to vote.

Anti-national elements failed to deter voters from exercising their constitutional rights.

Meticulous planning and execution of SVEEP activities was done and it ultimately has resulted in a significant increase in the voter turnout.

SMS Blast on mobile through telecom companies, hoarding, flex, nukkad natak, street play, painting competitions, various sports competitions, and rallies translated into an increase in overall voter turnout.

The spirit of democracy triumphed and not even a single incident of stone pelting or any kind of violence was reported on the poll day.

The enthusiasm among the political parties, who are an important stakeholder in the democratic process could be gauged from the fact that a record number of applications regarding various permissions have been received on the Suvidha portal and they were facilitated to hold public meetings and rallies in all nook and corner of the constituency. The campaigning in Baramulla parliamentary constituency was violence-free and witnessed historic participation from the voters.

There were around 21,000 Kashmiri migrant electors in the Baramulla parliamentary constituency who opted for voting at 26 Special Polling Stations, 21 at Jammu, one at Udhampur and four at Delhi.

At these 26 special polling stations, there was a voter turnout of 32 percent at Jammu and around 50 percent at Udhampur and Delhi.

It is also the first time that the migrant community has turned to vote in such large numbers.

The CEO J&K, in his message, congratulated all the voters and thanked all those voters who came in large numbers to cast their votes.

He appreciated the work done by all the polling personnel, including security personnel deployed in the election process, Police officers, ARO, RO, and District Election Officers for their service in making the ongoing elections successful.

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