The verdict on 79 candidates who contested the Lok Sabha election from six seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be out on Thursday, May 23 when the counting of votes will take place.
Jammu and Kashmir can be divided into three primary divisions - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh with a population of 1,01,43,700. Of this, around 67 per cent practice Islam, 30 per cent are Hindus and 1.36 per cent are Buddhists. The state also enjoys a special status.
In the three seats in Kashmir, Lok Sabha election was held in five phases. The Anantnag constituency, which remained in the news in the last five years because of militancy, voted in three phases due to security concerns.
PDP chief Mehbooba is contesting the Lok Sabha election from Anantnag. On the other hand, NC chief Omar Abdullah did not contest the parliamentary election this year.
Both, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party did not field any candidate in Jammu, in an apparent move to avoid a split in anti-BJP votes. Earlier, talks were also held between NC, PDP and Congress to field a joint candidate in Ladakh against the BJP, who won the seat in 2014 by a mere 34 votes. However, it didn't work out.
While the NC, PDP and Peoples Conference have fielded their candidates in all the three seats in Kashmir, Congress fielded its candidates only in Baramulla and Anantnag.
Key candidates in Jammu and Kashmir:
Some of the key candidates in the state are BJP's Jitender Singh, PDP's Mehbooba Mufti, NC's Farooq Abdullah and Hasnain Masoodi, Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Peoples Conference' Sajad Lone and Independent Engineer Rashid.
The state recorded a total turnout of 29.39 per cent of voter turnout in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Jammu and Baramulla, which went to polls under the first phase of Lok Sabha election, saw a voter turnout of 72.16 per cent and 34.61 per cent respectively. The first phase of the polling in Anantnag district on April 23 saw the highest turnout, at 13.61, while the second phase, involving the Kulgam district, on April 29 saw the voting percentage dip to 10.32. Shopian and Pulwama, which went to polls on May 6, recorded only 3 per cent polling. Udhampur, which went to polls on April 18, saw a voter turnout of 70 per cent while Srinagar witnessed a low turnout of 14.8 per cent.
Ahead of the last phase, various incidents of mob violence were reported on Sunday and the security situation remained so tensed that the poll staff for 24 polling stations in Zainapora sub-division of Shopian had to be airlifted, instead of taking the 13-km-long journey by road.
Exit Polls predictions for Jammu and Kashmir:
Going by most of the exit polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party is most likely to win two of the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir, Congress one in Ladakh and the National Conference all the three seats in the Valley. Mehbooba Mufti-led Peoples Democratic Party, which was once an ally of BJP, is most likely to lose from all the three seats of Kashmir.
According to Times Now-VMR Exit Poll, the BJP will win two seats, while Congress and the NC are predicted to get four seats in Ladakh and Valley. Jan Ki Baat Exit Poll predicted one-two seats for the BJP and three-four seats for the National Conference-Congress. Mufti's PDP is set to win one seat, it said.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP had won two seats of Jammu and Kashmir and one seat of Ladakh whereas the PDP had won all three seats in the Valley. Both the National Conference and the Congress drew a blank in the state.
Jammu and Kashmir had been under the President's Rule since December 2018 after the state assembly was dissolved by the Governor. On June 19, a Governor's Rule was imposed in the state after 25-member BJP in the state pulled out of the coalition government with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir.