Banihal (Udhampur): Voting started on a dull note in this highway town of Udhampur constituency’s Ramban district due to overnight rain and overcast morning sky.

At the higher secondary school polling station number one, just 18 votes had been polled during the first one hour after the polling process started at 7 a.m. Thursday.

There are 1,019 voters at this polling station, including 459 females.

There were more polling agents of the contesting candidates at this polling station than those who came here to vote in the morning.

President officer, Ajit Singh told IANS that voting is likely to pick up as the day warms up.

In another polling station set up at the shelter shed in Banihal town, just 14 votes had been cast during the first one hour although there are 811 registered voters at this polling station.

Poll staff said that given the morning cold, they are expecting the voter turnout to improve by midday.

Voting also started on a dull note in Kishtwar and Doda districts, the other two districts besides Ramban known as the Chenab Valley region.

Brisk polling, however, started in Kathua, Reasi and Udhampur districts of this Lok Sabha seat where at many places people had lined up outside the polling stations much before 7 a.m.

Masu Ram, 103, was among the first voters at the higher secondary school polling station number 67 in Hira Nagar town of Kathua district.

Immediately after casting his vote, Masu Ram told reporters: “This could be my last vote in the Lok Sabha elections. I cannot afford to let it go waste.”

Voting started peacefully in all the six districts of Udhampur, Reasi, Kathua, Ramban, Kishtwar and Doda of Udhampur Lok Sabha seat.

Union minister and former chief minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress is challenged by Jitender Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Arshad Malik of the regional Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in this Lok Sabha seat although the total number of candidates is 13 here.

There are 14.38 lakh voters here, including Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.

Voting ends at 6 p.m.

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Free Press Journal