Ignoring boycott calls by separatists and cold conditions, a record 71.28 percent people came out to cast their vote in the first phase on Tuesday, which was an increase of about 10 percent from last in Assembly elections, and about 20 percent up from the Lok Sabha polls.
The voting percentage in LS polls in April-May was 52.63 percent, while in 2008 Assembly elections it was 61 percent in these 15 constituencies.
Three Assembly segments of Kashmir valley – Sonawari, Gurez and Kangan -- recorded the highest polling of 80, 77 and 76 percent respectively, along with Doda segment of Jammu
region and Nobra segment of ladakh region which witnessed 79 and 75.6 percent poll respectively.
The voting percentage of Sonawari segment of worst militancy-hit Bandipora district shows an increase of 20.05 and 21.95 percent from 2008 and 2002 Assembly elections, according to official data.

The highest ever turnout of voters was during 1977 Assembly polls in Sonawari, when it was 84.98 percent, but in the polls of 2008 and 2002 it was just 59.95 and 58.05 percent.
Doda Assembly segment, with 79 percent voter turnout, has shown an increase in turnout of 5.96 and 43.71 percent from 2008 and 2002 Assembly polls. The highest voter turnout in Doda was
in 1987 when it was recorded at 78.05 percent.
Similarly, Gurez polled 2.98 percent and 23.55 percent more votes yesterday than 2008 and 2002 polls, in which polls turnout figures were 74.02 and 53.45 percent respectively.
Kangan, which polled 76 percent votes on Tuesday, has witnessed an increase of 16.05 and 11.29 percent votes over 2008 and 2002, when it was recorded at 59.55 and 64.71 percent respectively. The highest poll percentage here was 80.48 percent in 1987.
Even the militancy infested Bandipora segment polled 70 percent votes, an increase of 15.93 and 18.79 percent votes than 2008 and 2002 polls, when 54.07 and 25.79 percent voters exercised their franchise. The highest polling here was 78.95 percent in 1983.
According to official figures, Assembly segment wise voter turnout for 15 constituencies included Nobra(75.6), Leh(67), Kargil(69.45), Zanskar(71.44), Doda(79.6), Bhaderwah(70.1), Ramban(68.78), Banihal(73.32), Kishtwar(77.09), Inderwal (74.32), Ganderbal(59), Kangan(76), Sonawari(80.1), Bandipora (70) and Gurez(77.15).
Ganderbal segment, once the bastion of Omar Abdullah's family, recorded 53 percent polling, a slight increase to over the figures of 2008 and 2002 of 51.77 and 48.26 percent. The highest
poll percentage was 87.29 in 1977.
Nobra segment of Leh district, with present poll turnout 75.6 percent, have also shown increase against 71.26 percent in 2008.
Bhaderwah and Banihal segments of Chenab valley, which had 70 percent polling each, have also witnessed increase from previous elections of 2008 and 2002.
There was 65.29 and 34.32 percent in 2008 and 2002 polls in Bhaderwah while 67.59 and 47.51 percent in 2008 and 2002 in Banihal.
Ramban, which had polled 64.55 and 36.12 percent voting in 2008 and 2002, Tuesday registered a polling percentage of 68 percent.
Ostensibly, there was also a decrease in voting percent this time in Kargil, Zanaskar, Inderwal, Kishtwar segments, which polled 60 percent, 71, 72.54 and 68.83 percent respectively against 2008's figures of 75.06, 72.27, 72.73 and 74.46 percent.
Seeing a hope in high voter turnout in the first-phase, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said people turning out in large numbers to cast their votes should not necessarily be seen as anti-incumbency wave.

"Experts who would like to suggest a high turnout means anti-incumbency should look at the Lok Sabha polls where low turnout cost us all three seats (in the valley)," Omar wrote on microblogging site Twitter.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad congratulated the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their "huge participation" in first phase of Assembly polls and said his party's performance will dash expectations of political analysts.

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