Voting record of 40 years made in Baramulla, Kashmir, democracy started fluttering in the 'bastion of terror' as soon as Article 370 was removed

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
5 Min Read

New Delhi: What has changed in Kashmir after the removal of Article 370 of the Constitution? The people of Baramulla have given a befitting reply to those asking such questions on the voting day on Monday. Baramulla, which has been a 'hotbed of terror' since the 1990s, witnessed 58.62% voting. This is a record of the last 40 years. Therefore, it can be said that another answer to the question asked about the effect of removal of Article 370 has been found – there is now a wave of democracy in the bastion of terror. Voting took place in Baramulla parliamentary constituency of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections. According to the Election Commission, 58.62% voting took place here. This is the largest figure since 1984 in terms of both voting percentage and number of voters. The highest turnout in Baramulla was 61.1% in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections. The region had been in the grip of insurgency since 1989, when turnout reached an all-time low of 5.5%. North Kashmir was a stronghold of terrorists in the early 1990s.

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See the effect of removal of Article 370

But when Section 370 was removed, this time the families of active terrorists also participated enthusiastically in the celebration of democracy. The brother of an active Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist said, 'Voting is my right, so I voted.' At the same time, amazing enthusiasm towards elections was also seen among the youth. The extent to which the youth of the entire Jammu and Kashmir as well as Baramulla were aware about voting can be gauged from the fact that the youth left the cricket field and reached the polling booth.

What wonderful enthusiasm, what wonderful enthusiasm!

A group of local players left their cricket match midway and reached a polling booth in Silu area of ​​Sopore, which is part of Baramulla parliamentary constituency. This team of young cricketers said that they have an understanding of social responsibility and have come to vote for change in the state. A young cricketer said, 'We have come to vote. The youth, the new generation, want a kind of revolution, we want a change in what is going on. Keep in mind that in Sopore, which was once called 'Chhota Pakistan', the voting percentage was very low in the last few decades.

Another first-time voter, Muezzin Manzoor, said that voting is necessary for development. He said, 'There has not been much improvement in the last 70 years. So, I voted for the first time to bring change. Another interesting thing was that in Nowshera area of ​​Uri assembly constituency, a groom cast his vote before marriage.

No trace of violence, it has become history

Although 22 candidates are in the fray in Baramulla, the contest is mainly between three candidates. These are former CM and Vice President Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, Sajjad Lone of the People's Conference and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of the Awami Ittehad Party, popularly known as Engineer Rashid. Voting has been going on here since Monday morning. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Pandurang Kondabarao said that no incident of violence took place and the people of Baramulla have created history.

28 year old record of voting broken for the first time after removal of Article 370, bumper voting in Srinagar
There were 2,103 polling stations in the constituency, all monitored with CCTV cameras to ensure smooth voting. According to the Election Commission's voter turnout app, Handwara assembly constituency, which is Sajjad Lone's home district, saw the highest turnout at 72%, while Sopore assembly constituency saw the lowest turnout at 40.1%. The Election Commission had set up 187 special polling stations of different categories mainly for Kashmiri migrant voters living in various relief camps to cast their votes.

Srinagar recorded 38.5% voting in the fourth phase, which was the highest since 1996. Thanking the voters of Jammu and Kashmir for exercising their right in large numbers, Chief Election Commissioner Rajeev Kumar told our associate newspaper Times of India (TOI). 'A large number of people are voting for democratic rule in Jammu and Kashmir. They are expressing confidence and the panel is encouraged to hold assembly elections there as soon as possible.

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