Kashmir Scan, May 2014
Amid bullets and violent protests, most of the people during ongoing 2014 parliamentary elections in Kashmir have chosen to boycott the polls but in some areas are coming out in large numbers to exercise their franchise.
Hammering the much hyped campaign by various mainstream political parties Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Geelani called for general strikes on polling dates in Kashmir province leaving Jammu and Ladakh provinces without justifying the reason. Though the boycott call have been followed by majority of the people in Kashmir province but at the same time the Jammu-Poonch parliamentary constituency in Jammu province witnessed good enthusiasm among its voters, with 68% polling.
The district-wise polling trends are of interest too. While Jammu and Samba districts recorded the highest turnouts of 70% and 75% respectively, Rajouri district wasn’t bad with 64.33%. Nor was Poonch district with 61%.
In fact the voting enthusiasm was visible in most of the Muslim-majority areas in contrast there continues to be a serious lack of enthusiasm among the voters for the Parliamentary elections in Kashmir.
Besides, the polls in south Kashmir’s Anantnag parliamentary constituency were marked by the killings of four political workers and a polling official, central Kashmir’s Srinagar parliamentary polls ended with the killing of a civilian youth in the firing by paramilitary CRPF men.
Even before the polls, the four south Kashmir districts of Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag and Kulgam were on the razor edge after the killing of four political workers by unidentified gunmen.
On the poll day, south Kashmir witnessed numerous incidents of protests and stone pelting, coercion by troops, bogus voting, attack on media by Police, and sporadic voting.
On the other side the mystery which taps the mind is to which political party would gain from the poll boycott called by the separatist and militant outfits. NC denies the claims that they benefit from boycott but simultaneously blames that boycott is a big advantage for PDP. Countering the blame, PDP has termed the NC win as an outcome of poll boycott
Whatsoever is the reality, the least poll turnout in Kashmir province during 2014 parliamentary election may be an eye opener for the central government to reconsider a roadmap for Kashmir