The election commission of India (ECI) said on Monday that the combined voter turnout (VTR) at the polling stations for all five Lok Sabha seats of Jammu and Kashmir was 58.46 per cent in 2024 Lok Sabha elections. J&K has registered the highest poll participation in the last 35 years, the commission said.

The Commission believes this augurs well for the upcoming Assembly polls in the Union Territory.

Jammu and Kashmir is spread across the five parliamentary constituencies of Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag-Rajouri, Udhampur, and Jammu. Ladakh, constituted as a separate Union Territory in 2019, also saw an enthusiastic response to the call of democracy, as reflected in the VTR of 71.82 per cent, the ECI informed.

Equally encouraging was the voter turnout of 50.86 per cent at the three parliamentary seats in the Kashmir Valley — Srinagar, Baramulla, and Anantnag-Rajouri — which echoed the faith of the people in the democratic process, the ECI said in a statement on Monday.

The poll participation percentage witnessed a 30-point jump from the last general election in 2019, where it was 19.16 per cent, the Commission stated.

The Lok Sabha seats of Srinagar, Baramulla, and Anantnag-Rajouri recorded VTRs of 38.49 per cent, 59.1 per cent and 54.84 per cent respectively, which have been the highest in the last three decades. The other two seats in the Jammu region — Udhampur and Jammu recorded 68.27 per cent and 72.22 per cent voter turnout respectively.

Democratic Advancement

Complementing the voters of J&K for the historic feat, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said: “This achievement sits on a credible weave of a 25 per cent increase in the number of contesting candidates since 2019. C-vigil complaints showed enhanced citizen involvement, and Suvidha Portal showing 2,455 requests for rallies etc, reflecting the steady retaking of the election and campaign space away from hesitation and to fuller participation. This layered depth of electoral mobilization and participation is reminiscent of the fame and deft of the legendary Kashmiri artisanal weave. This active participation is a huge positive for Assembly elections to be held soon so that the democratic process continues to thrive in the Union Territory”.

CEC Rajiv Kumar, along with Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, thanked the polling personnel and security officials for the high voter turnout and peaceful conduct of elections in the UT.

The higher enrolment of youth voters is the reflection of the surge in voter turnout. In the 18-39 age group of voters, the highest percentage of electors (56.02 per cent) were registered in the Baramulla seat, which broke the previous record by achieving 59 per cent polling. Anantnag-Rajouri seat followed with 54.41 per cent of the registered electors, 53.57 in Udhampur, 48.57 per cent in Srinagar and 47.66 in Jammu, said the Commission.

Young people have asserted their faith and embraced democracy in a big way, the ECI observed.

In comparison, the maximum number of registered electors in the age group of 40–59 years was 35.28 per cent in Jammu, with Srinagar coming close with 34.87 per cent, 32.65 per cent in Udhampur, 31.59 per cent in Anantnag-Rajouri, and 30.85 per cent in Baramulla.

The Commission has also enabled Kashmiri migrant voters residing at various relief camps in Delhi, Jammu, and Udhampur to have the option of voting in person at designated special polling stations or using a postal ballot. Twenty-one special polling stations were established in Jammu, one in Udhampur, and four in Delhi.