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Hit by boycott during LS polls, enthusiasm high among voters for Assembly elections in Bandipora

Hit by boycott during LS polls, enthusiasm high among voters for Assembly elections in Bandipora

Only 20 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Bandipore during Lok Sabha elections.

Bandipora (North Kashmir): Asserting that unprecedented enthusiasm has been witnessed among the people towards elections in the district, Bandipora Deputy Commissioner Dr Shah Faisal expressed hope that about 70 per cent to 75 per cent electorate will exercise their democratic right this time against only 40 per cent recorded during Lok Sabha polls.

"The voting percentage of the district in Lok Sabha elections was low as the Bandipora Assembly constituency recorded only 20 per cent voter turnout due to boycott in 35 polling booths." he said while talking to IBNLive.com.

However, this time the district administration has taken measures to build confidence among the people to come out and vote without any fear, he said, adding that they have taken into custody all the miscreants and youths who have a record of stone pelting and creating ruckus during elections.

"We have finalised all arrangements for free, fair and peaceful polling in Bandipora, Gurez and Sonawari constituencies, he said, adding apart from state police, 73 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in the district to maintain law and order.

Dr Shah said to avoid any doubt among the contesting candidates, two-stage randomisation of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been done in presence of candidate or their representative to evade pre-programming in favour of any particular candidate.

He further said that the machines will be selected randomly before being sent to the polling stations to make sure that nobody comes to know beforehand to which polling station a specific EVM will be used.

Similarly, he said, "The polling staff has not been informed about the areas they have been assigned to. They will be given information about their posting a few hours before they leave for their respective areas."

The district witnessed two big rallies in the last two days. Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday addressed an election rally in favour of party candidate Usman Majeed from Bandipora constituency.

Meanwhile Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed addressed election rallies in Bandipora and Sonawari Assembly constituencies to enlist support for his party candidates Nizam-ud-Din Bhat and Yasir Reshi.

Earlier, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah addressed an election rally in Gurez in support of his party candidate and sitting Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Nazir Ahamd Khan Gurezi, who is seeking mandate for the third time.

So far the road to border area of Gurez is open and election material and staff will be dispatched to their respective polling booths on Sunday. However, in case of snowfall and closure of roads, helicopters will be pressed into service to carry poll material and staff to different cut off locations, the Bandipora DC said.

The border constituency of Gurez, which has 17,554 voters, has 27 polling booths and Bandipora, where 98,377 voters are registered, has 124 booths. Meanwhile, Sonawari, where 99,449 people are eligible to cast their votes, has 112 polling booths.

In all the three constituencies of Bandipora, 129 polling booths have been marked as hyper-sensitive, 123 sensitive and only 19 booths are normal.

(Abid Soffi is Managing Editor, 'Kashmir Pioneer'. He lives in Srinagar.)