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Amid Inclement Weather, 65% Voter Turnout Recorded by 5 PM in Udhampur LS Seat

April 19, 2024

JAMMU: An estimated 65 per cent of the total 16.23 lakh registered voters cast their ballot by 5 pm on Friday in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in Udhampur, officials said.

Voting began at 7 am at 2,637 polling stations across the constituency and was scheduled to end at 6 pm, they said, adding there are 12 candidates in the fray.

The voting percentage will go up, with officials saying that compiling data from some polling stations takes time.

Union minister Jitendra Singh, who is eyeing a third term after winning the Udhampur seat for the BJP in 2014 and 2019, is up against Congress leader and former MP Choudhary Lal Singh and the DPAP’s G M Saroori, besides six independents.

This is the first major electoral battle in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and the division of the erstwhile state into two Union territories in 2019.

“An estimated 65.08 per cent voters cast their ballots till 5 pm with one more hour still left in the polling which is going on smoothly. This is an approximate trend, as data from some polling stations takes time and this trend does not include data of postal ballot voting,” an official said.

Lal Singh and Saroori were among those who cast their votes at their respective polling stations in Kathua and Kishtwar and expressed confidence in winning the seat.

“People are angry over the abrogation of Article 370 and downgrading of the erstwhile state into a Union territory…,” the Congress candidate said.

Union minister Jitendra Singh visited a polling station in Kathua to oversee the polling process. He expressed confidence in retaining the seat with a huge margin.

There are a total of 84,468 potential first-time voters, aged 18-19 years, of which 45,825 are men, 38,641 are women and two are third genders, the officials said.

An official said the constituency also has a sizable elderly population, with 12,020 men and 13,612 women aged 80 and above, totalling 25,632 seasoned voters contributing to the electoral process. (PTI)

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