Villagers Wednesday defied a separatist boycott call, while voters in cities and towns mostly stayed away from polling stations as balloting began in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency. Barely 15 votes were cast at two polling stations in Ganderbal district's Kangan town in the first one hour of polling.
In contrast, 50 votes had been cast at the Wussan polling station during the first half an hour despite the fact that voters said separatists pasted posters in the village threatening them with dire consequences. In Badgam town, 25 votes were cast at two polling stations in the first one hour, while over 130 ballots were cast and voters lined up at polling stations in Gadipora town. In rural voting areas of Chadoora, Charar-e-Sharief and Beerwah assembly segments, voters queued outside polling stations, indicating that the separatist boycott calls had little impact.
In the heart of the Srinagar, voters came out in Amira Kadal, Maisuma, Khanyar and Habba Kadal areas to vote though in small numbers. The movements of tourists to hill stations of Sonmarg, Gulmarg and Pahalgam remained unaffected as taxis ferrying them plied normally on the roads. Tension was palpable in many old city areas where polling stations were deserted during the first two hours. A poll official was injured in stone pelting in Darish Kadal area of old city Srinagar late Tuesday. Union Minister and ruling National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah is seeking re-election from this constituency that has 12.31 lakh voters. Tariq Hamid Karra of the regional Peoples Democratic Party is Abdullah's main challenger here.
In 2009, Srinagar Lok Sabha seat recorded 25.25 percent voting. Voting here ends at 5 p.m.