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05-21-2019     3 رجب 1440

Mockery of Democracy

May 16, 2019 |

With the most crucial election in Jammu and Kashmir’s history, held in the backdrop of Pulwama suicide attack and the Balakot strikes, ending last week, it has marked yet another low for New Delhi and electoral politics in the state. With a dismal 8.76 percent of 13.97 lakh people casting their votes in south Kashmir, it has raised questions about the credibility of the whole election process. This is the second lowest voter turnout in Kashmir since the armed insurgency erupted in early nineties. Earlier, 7.2 percent votes were polled in by-polls to Srinagar parliamentary seat in 2017, the lowest ever. In 1989 Lok Sabha polls, Anantnag and Baramulla segments recorded 5.07 percent and 5.08 percent voter turnout respectively. As the years passed by, people started to show faith in electoral democracy. In 2009 elections, at least 27.10 electors cast their ballot. The turnout was 15.04 % in 2004 and 14.32 % in 1999. By 2014, at least 28 percent electors voted in south Kashmir, 20 percent more than the total turnout in this Lok Sabha election.Even the district-wise turnout in 2014 election was far high – 37.76 % in Anantnag, 36.68 % in Kulgam, 20.43 % in Shopian and 6.32 % in Pulwama. But the Burhan Wani episode and the subsequent turmoil has changed it all. Not without reason, there has been a sharp drop in turnout in the assembly segments which had a history of brisk voting. For example, the two constituencies of Kulgam district, Noorabad and Devsar, the strongholds of mainstream camp registering 75.3 % and 41 % polling respectively in 2014 election, polled just 20 % and 15 % votes respectively. It has caught even mainstream politicians with their pants down. They are now unable to convince even their party cadres to vote for them. Like other South Kashmir areas, Noorabad too had witnessed a strong anti-India uprising in 2016 during which angry people set fire to a local police station and allegedly looted weapons from there. A young girl had been killed after the forces opened fire on the protesters. These incidents of highhandedness by forces have sowed the seeds of resentment against the mainstream politics which is not reflecting in the form of disinterest among people for elections. Curioiusly, with the date of counting approaching, it is interesting that the Kashmir-based candidates are looking for lead from within two percent turnout in some districts and 10 percent in others and hoping for a win from eight percent voting in the constituency. This is mockery of electoral democracy, to say the least.

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Mockery of Democracy

May 16, 2019 |

With the most crucial election in Jammu and Kashmir’s history, held in the backdrop of Pulwama suicide attack and the Balakot strikes, ending last week, it has marked yet another low for New Delhi and electoral politics in the state. With a dismal 8.76 percent of 13.97 lakh people casting their votes in south Kashmir, it has raised questions about the credibility of the whole election process. This is the second lowest voter turnout in Kashmir since the armed insurgency erupted in early nineties. Earlier, 7.2 percent votes were polled in by-polls to Srinagar parliamentary seat in 2017, the lowest ever. In 1989 Lok Sabha polls, Anantnag and Baramulla segments recorded 5.07 percent and 5.08 percent voter turnout respectively. As the years passed by, people started to show faith in electoral democracy. In 2009 elections, at least 27.10 electors cast their ballot. The turnout was 15.04 % in 2004 and 14.32 % in 1999. By 2014, at least 28 percent electors voted in south Kashmir, 20 percent more than the total turnout in this Lok Sabha election.Even the district-wise turnout in 2014 election was far high – 37.76 % in Anantnag, 36.68 % in Kulgam, 20.43 % in Shopian and 6.32 % in Pulwama. But the Burhan Wani episode and the subsequent turmoil has changed it all. Not without reason, there has been a sharp drop in turnout in the assembly segments which had a history of brisk voting. For example, the two constituencies of Kulgam district, Noorabad and Devsar, the strongholds of mainstream camp registering 75.3 % and 41 % polling respectively in 2014 election, polled just 20 % and 15 % votes respectively. It has caught even mainstream politicians with their pants down. They are now unable to convince even their party cadres to vote for them. Like other South Kashmir areas, Noorabad too had witnessed a strong anti-India uprising in 2016 during which angry people set fire to a local police station and allegedly looted weapons from there. A young girl had been killed after the forces opened fire on the protesters. These incidents of highhandedness by forces have sowed the seeds of resentment against the mainstream politics which is not reflecting in the form of disinterest among people for elections. Curioiusly, with the date of counting approaching, it is interesting that the Kashmir-based candidates are looking for lead from within two percent turnout in some districts and 10 percent in others and hoping for a win from eight percent voting in the constituency. This is mockery of electoral democracy, to say the least.


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Owner, Printer, Publisher, Editor: Farooq Ahmad Wani
Legal Advisor: M.J. Hubi
Printed at: Abid Enterprizes, Zainkote Srinagar
Published from: Gulshanabad Chraresharief Budgam
RNI No.: JKENG/2010/33802
Office No’s: 0194-2451076, 9622924716 , 9419400056
Postal Regd No: SK/135/2010-2019
Administrative Office: Abi Guzer Srinagar

© Copyright 2018 brighterkashmir.com All Rights Reserved.