1996 history fails to repeat itself in 2002 in J&K
18 September 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: History has failed to repeat itself in the first phase of polls in Jammu and Kashmir in 23 segments of border areas of the state including Kupwara, Baramulla and Kargil. While voters turnout in most of these areas nose-dived in the recent poll as compared to 1996, Kupwara, a deeply militant-infested border area, was an exception with an increase in the electoral turnout. The major difference in voters turnout was in the areas of Poonch, which witnessed various disruptive attempts by militants including shelling in Surankote and Mendhar, by nearly 20 per cent with 69.21 per cent voter turnout recorded in 1996 as compared to 48 per cent in this election. Poonch is followed by Baramulla, which had recorded 56.36 per cent voter turnout in 1996 as compared to 37 per cent turnout this year, a difference of nearly of 19 per cent. The Kargil segments, which have been different from other border counterparts with mostly higher voters turnout, also witnessed nearly 13 per cent low turnout this year with only 67 per cent voters turning out to caste their ballots as compared to 1996 when 80.38 per cent people came out to vote. Rajouri recorded only 48 per cent voters turnout as compared to 60.09 per cent in 1996 Assembly elections. The only exception remained Kupwara, a stronghold of late separatist leader Abdul Ghani Lone, where there was an increase of point five per cent in voters turnout this year at 40 per cent as compared to 39.05 per cent in 1996.