J and K BJP chief votes in Rajouri; thanks people for strengthening democracy

Rajouri/Jammu, May 25 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina on Saturday exercised his franchise in his home constituency in Rajouri district and thanked the voters for turning up in large numbers to strengthen democracy in the Union Territory.

Rajouri is part of the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency where polling is underway in the sixth phase of elections to decide the fate of 20 candidates, including PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Mufti faces a major challenge from former minister of the National Conference and influential Gujjar leader Mian Altaf, and Apni Party’s Zafar Iqbal Khan Manhas who is backed by the BJP. Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) leader Mohamad Saleem Parray and 10 independents are also trying their luck from the constituency.

Anantnag-Rajouri is the last of the five parliamentary seats in Jammu and Kashmir and had so far 44.41 percent polling till 3 pm.

“This is the festival of democracy and we are thankful to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for turning up in record-breaking numbers to exercise their franchise for the election of new government,” Raina told reporters after casting his vote at Lamberi east polling station in Rajouri.

Referring to the voter turnout in the past four phases, especially in Kashmir, the BJP leader said: “I am hopeful that the people in Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat will follow suit and vote in a bumper way.”

Congratulating the people for strengthening democracy, Raina said, “I am confident that the people in Jammu and Kashmir and rest of the country will vote in the interest of the nation and ensure a third term for Narendra Modi who has worked for the benefit of all sections of the society, especially the poor.”

Meanwhile, the BJP supporters missed a party candidate from the constituency but said they have voted for a candidate who is being supported by the national party.

“It would have been better if we had our own candidate from the seat. But since the BJP decided to support a candidate from a regional party, we faced no difficulty in casting our vote,” said BJP worker Sham Lal of Nowshera.

Meanwhile, Jammu Divisional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar and Jammu Additional Director General of Police Anand Jain conducted a tour of Rajouri district to personally monitor the conduct of the elections. They visited various polling stations across the poll bound areas of Rajouri to monitor the polling process, said an official.

Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu province was the first to go to polls on April 19, registering 68 per cent turnout in the first major electoral battle since the abrogation of Article 370, sealing the fate of Union Minister Jitendra Singh who is seeking a third term from the seat.

The polling in Jammu parliamentary constituency in the second phase on April 26 recorded a turnout of 69.01 per cent which is the highest so far in Jammu and Kashmir in this general elections followed by Srinagar in the fourth phase on May 13 with a poll turnout of 38 per cent which is the second highest in past three decades.

Baramulla parliamentary constituency, from where the National Conference has fielded its vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, registered an all time high voter turnout of 58.17 per cent since its establishment in 1967 on May 20.

Rajouri along with nearby Poonch traditionally records high voter turnout. In the last 2019 general elections, Rajouri district recorded 65.7 per cent polling, while Poonch hit 70.4 per cent voting.

Rajouri and Poonch were then part of the Jammu parliamentary constituency but were made part of the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat on the recommendations of the delimitation commission in 2022.

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