Jammu, Dec 20: Undeterred by the threat of firing from across the border and braving the winter chill, over 55 per cent of the electorate today exercised their franchise till 2 PM in 20 constituencies of Jammu's border region in the fifth and final phase of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls.
Rural areas witnessed more voter turnout till 2 PM than the urban areas of the city. "As many as 55.29 per cent of voting has been registered till 2 PM in 20 segments of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts", an official spokesman said.
"I thank the people who are coming out in large numbers to vote. It is a victory for democracy and defeat of all other forces against the democratic process," he told reporters at a polling station in Gandhinagar.
Speaking to the media, District Electoral Officer, Jammu, Ajeet Kumar Sahu said polling is going on peacefully and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere. "People are coming out in large numbers to vote amid tight security arrangements.
Over 200 security companies have been deployed. We hope for a large turnout today", Sahu said. Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand and four of his cabinet colleagues are among 312 candidates whose fate will be decided today. Giving details, elections officials said while Marh constituency in Jammu district witnessed the highest 65.44 per cent of voters casting their ballot, Gandhinagar segment in heart of Jammu city registered lowest 41.42 per cent voting.
R S Pura border constituency saw 61.74 per cent of the electorate exercising their franchise, Nagorta 56 per cent while Raipur Domana saw over 59.20 per cent voters casting their ballot, Chhamb with 56 per cent and Suchetgarh polled 57 per cent polling.
Similarly, Bani registered 61.35 per cent, Hiranagar registered 55.56 per cent voting, Bishnah 54 per cent, Jammu East 46 per cent, Kathua 55.83 per cent, Basholi 52.60 per cent, Billawar 58.54 and Jammu West polled 56 per cent votes. Besides these, Noushera polled 55.09 per cent votes followed by 60.84 per cent polling in Darhal and 50.52 per cent in Kalakote, Rajouri 54 and Akhnoor polled 62 per cent votes.