"There are 13.01 lakh voters in the constituency."
Anantnag, April 24 - Voting started in Thursday in this south Kashmir Lok Sabha seat on a low key.

Poll officials said it is likely to pick up as the day progresses.

Fears were being expressed that voters might not turn out to use their democratic rights because of the recent terror attacks in the constituency in which four village headmen were killed by the guerrillas.

Contrary to these fears, the overall atmosphere in most of the 15 assembly segments which form part of Anantnag Lok Sabha seat was relaxed as bright sunshine greeted those who came out to cast their votes in the morning.

Karnail Singh, 50, was among the first voters at the girls' higher secondary school polling station in Qazigund town.

I have no fear of anybody. I have been living in Qazigund ever since I was born. I have voted for someone I believe will bring in peace to the Valley, he told IANS.

Out of a total of 980 votes at Karnail's polling station, 16 votes had been cast in the first half an hour after voting started at 7 a.m.

In another polling station in the town, just seven votes had been cast out of a total of 1,126 votes.

Poll officials said given the mood of the early voters who came to polling stations without any fear, the process is likely to pick up as the day progresses.

In Kulgam district of this Lok Sabha seat, people queued up before 7 a.m. to cast their votes at Yarikhah B polling station.

Men and women voters had formed separate lines outside the Yarikhah polling station.

There is heavy deployments of security forces to provide a peaceful atmosphere to the voters in the constituency.

Central Reserve Police Force - troopers and policemen have been deployed for the protection of the voters and the poll staff at each of the 1,615 polling stations in this Lok Sabha seat.

At many places in Pulwama district, youth attacked poll parties with stones during the night when they were being escorted by the security forces to various polling stations in the district.

Mehbooba Mufti, president of the regional Peoples Democratic Party - and Mehboob Beg of the ruling National Conference - supported by the Congress, are the main contestants although there are 10 other candidates also in the fray here.

While Beg is seeking re-elections from Anantnag, Mehbooba Mufti is challenging him in what is generally seen as a strong bastion of the PDP.

Out of the 16 assembly constituencies that form the voting segments for this Lok Sabha seat, 12 are represented in the 87-member state legislative assembly by the PDP while the NC represents one, the CPM one and the Congress two seats.

There are 13.01 lakh voters in the constituency.

Voting ends at 6 p.m. here.


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