KV Correspondent

Srinagar by-poll puts spotlight on past practices of ‘rigged’ elections

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The near ‘boycott’ of the elections for the Srinagar parliamentary seat has drawn into focus the past electoral practices when polls were either `rigged’ or there were allegations of coercion by the forces to ensure better voting turnout in Kashmir.

In 1987 assembly elections Muslim United Front (MUF) had polled 31.8 percent votes against the 45.1 percent by the National Conference. But the votes did not translate into the seats and the MUF could win on only four constituencies in the elections.

There were allegations that the elections were rigged and most of the members of MUF including Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, joined the separatist movement after 1987 elections.

Geelani however won the polls from Sopore assembly segment before resigning at the onset of armed struggle in Kashmir. Jamat-e-Islami (JeM) spokesman, Advocate Zahid Ali, said he had contested on the MUF ticket from Pampore assembly segment but NC candidate used fraudulent means to ensure his defeat.

Jamat-e-Islami (JeM) spokesman, Advocate Zahid Ali, said he had contested on the MUF ticket from Pampore assembly segment but NC candidate used fraudulent means to ensure his defeat. “I lost the elections to Mohidin Ganie of NC. While I got 17,000 votes Ganie polled 22,000 votes. The elections were rigged, otherwise people supported MUF,” he said. In the 1987

In the 1987 elections JeM was part of the MUF, before it decided to boycott the polls. In the recent parliamentary polls, Jamat asked its cadres to refrain from participating in the elections.

Data of the past parliamentary elections reveal that the even the candidates were declared elected without any contest. In 1989 elections, NC won all the three parliamentary seats from Kashmir in the wake of the boycott by MUF.

While Srinagar parliamentary seat was won by NC candidate Mohommad Shafi Bhat unopposed , only 5.07 percent people cast their vote in Anantang seat and the polling percentage in Baramulla remained 5.48.

However due to the militancy the elections couldn’t be held in 1991 parliamentary polls. Though 1996 elections witnessed good voting percentage, there were strong allegations that the state government used forces to ” coerce” the people to vote. In 1996, Kashmir recorded a voting percentage of 46 percent even as there were some pockets in Srinagar where the turnout was thin. What

In 1996, Kashmir recorded a voting percentage of 46 percent even as there were some pockets in Srinagar where the turnout was thin. What give credence to the allegations of state machinery being used for voting was that a very high percentage of votes were declared as invalid. Around 7.4 percent of votes were declared invalid in Srinagar constituency and another seven percent in Baramulla.

In 1996 elections, only 14 percent votes were cast in Habba Kadal, 17 percent in Eidgah, 18 percent in Zadibal, 19 percent in Khanyar and 20 percent in Amirakadal. Democratic Freedom party chairman, Shabir Shah said the boycott has proved the elections have been a sham exercise in Kashmir. “The boycott has shown that nothing less than freedom is acceptable to the people of Kashmir,” he said.

Democratic Freedom party chairman, Shabir Shah said the boycott has proved the elections have been a sham exercise in Kashmir. “The boycott has shown that nothing less than freedom is acceptable to the people of Kashmir,” he said.


KV Correspondent

Kashmir Correspondent cover all daily updates for the newspaper
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