In J&K, polling for the Udhampur seat in the first phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections starts

In the Udhampur parliamentary constituency of Jammu and Kashmir, voting for the first phase of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 began on Friday. Approximately 16.23 lakh voters are eligible to cast ballots. Despite torrential rain, voting for 12 candidates—including Union Minister Jitendra Singh, who is vying for a third term after winning the seat for the BJP in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections—started at 7 a.m. at all 2,637 polling places around the constituency.

Following the repeal of Article 370 and the division of the former state into two Union Territories on August 5, 2019, this is the first significant election contest. Aside from six independents, notable contenders in the race include DPAP’s G.M. Saroori, Congress leader and two-time former MP Choudhary Lal Singh.

Before the polls opened, voters braved bad weather to travel to their polling places, according to authorities. They also said that over 11,000 poll workers, including reserve personnel, had been deployed and that security measures were impeccable to guarantee free and fair elections. Udhampur is a large city that spans 16,707 square kilometers. It is divided into eighteen assembly segments that are spread throughout the five districts of Kathua, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, and Udhampur.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 70.2% of voters participated in the reformed constituency, which included the creation of three assembly seats inside the Reasi district based on the delimitation commission’s recommendations in 2022. In the constituency with a diversified electorate of 16,23,195 eligible voters, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer reports that 1,472 of the 2,637 polling places have webcasting capabilities. Of these, 777,899 are women, 845,283 are males, and 13 are voters of a third gender.

There are 2,457 polling places in rural regions and 180 in urban areas out of the 2,637 total. The top 701 voting places are located in Kathua, followed by Udhampur (654), Doda (529), Kishtwar (405), and Ramban (348). Notable is the presence of 23,637 PWDs (people with disabilities) on the electoral list; they include 14,362 men and 9,275 women in addition to 403 elderly voters who have registered to cast ballots.

According to the authorities, there are 84,468 possible first-time voters who are between the ages of 18 and 19. Of these, 45,825 are males, 38,641 are women, and two identify as third genders. They claimed that a considerable number of senior citizens reside in the constituency, with 12,020 males and 13,612 women who are 80 years of age or over, for a total of 25,632 seasoned voters who participate in the political process.

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