J&K records 71% voting in second phase of polling

People braved boycott calls by separatists and inclement weather to record 71 per cent voter turnout in the second of the five-phase assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday as the electorate in the 18 seats cast their votes.

The figure could go up by another two percentage points once the final tally is available, say election commission officials.

The first phase of the five-phase polls for 15 seats on 25 November had witnessed a record 71.28 per cent polling.

''The latest figures that we have for the second phase of polls in Jammu and Kashmir is 71 per cent. We expect these numbers to go up by 1-2 per cent further,'' Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said in Delhi.

''No untoward incident'' took place in the 18 assembly seats in five districts that went to polls, he said, adding that of the five districts, two were in the Valley and three in Jammu.

''There was no incident that vitiated the poll process in the state during this phase,'' he said, adding that ''pretty heavy'' voting was reported in Reasi and Udhampur districts.

Tuesday's poll percentage, he said, is higher than the figure of 61.04 per cent polling during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and 68.79 per cent recorded during the 2008 assembly elections.

The corresponding figures for voting on Tuesday in the five districts stood at Reasi (80 per cent), Udhampur (76 per cent), Poonch (75 per cent), Kupwara (68 per cent) and Kulgam (above 60 per cent).

There were 1.54 million voters while a total of 175 candidates, including four sitting ministers and 11 other sitting MLAs, were in the fray.

While the polling itself was incident-free, the army foiled an infiltration bid on the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara district Tuesday morning, on a day when voters of this border district were queuing up at polling booths.

In Jharkhand, a total of 65.46 per cent of the voters cast their votes in 20 of the 81 assembly seats in second phase of the five-phased state elections.

The polling concluded peacefully in all the constituencies, chief electoral officer PK Jajoria said.

Re-polling was also held peacefully at one booth in Garhwa seat and two in Chhatarpur constituency.

Totally 61.92 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the first phase of the polls in 13 seats on 25 November.

Polling for third phase of elections in 17 seats will be held on 9 December. Polling for the two remaining phases would be held on 14 and 20 December.