An overcast sky and the urge to sleep longer than usual after the morning prayers during the ongoing month of Ramadan kept most people indoors. Voters were seen in twos and fours walking leisurely towards the polling stations.

Reports from the rural areas also said early voter enthusiasm and queues of people outside polling stations were conspicuous by their absence. Authorities, however, said voting was likely to pick up as the day progresses.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is contesting elections from Anantnag to enter the state legislature -- a mandatory requirement for any Chief Minister of the state to fulfill within six months of being sworn in.

There are seven other candidates in the fray here including Hilal Ahmad Shah of the Congress and Iftikhar Hussain Misgar of the regional National Conference.

The seat fell vacant due to the passing away of the former Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed who represented the constituency till his death on January 7.All separatist leaders and guerrilla outfits operating under the Muzaffarabad-based United Jehad Council (UJC) have asked people to boycott the polls.

Voting started at 7 a.m. and will end at 6 pm. Votes will be counted on June 25 and results announced the same day.

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