Jammu and Kashmir sees historic 58.46% voter turnout, highest in 35 years

The Kashmir Valley, in particular, saw an extraordinary 30-point increase in voter turnout compared to the 2019 elections, with the participation rate soaring from 19.16% to 50.86%.

Jammu and Kashmir achieved its highest voter turnout in 35 years during the General Elections 2024. With a combined voter turnout (VTR) of 58.46% across its five Lok Sabha constituencies, the region has demonstrated a robust commitment to democratic participation.

The Kashmir Valley, in particular, saw an extraordinary 30-point increase in voter turnout compared to the 2019 elections, with the participation rate soaring from 19.16% to 50.86%.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar, alongside Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, expressed gratitude to polling personnel and security officials for ensuring peaceful elections in the Union Territory (UT). CEC Kumar highlighted the importance of this achievement, noting a 25% increase in the number of contesting candidates since 2019 and a surge in civic engagement, as evidenced by numerous complaints and requests for rallies via the Suvidha Portal.

“The active participation of J&K’s people in the General Elections is a huge positive for the upcoming assembly elections, ensuring that the democratic process continues to thrive in the UT,” stated CEC Kumar.

The five parliamentary constituencies in the UT—Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag-Rajouri, Udhampur, and Jammu—saw varying voter turnout rates, with Srinagar recording 38.49%, Baramulla 59.1%, Anantnag-Rajouri 54.84%, Udhampur 68.27%, and Jammu 72.22%. The overall turnout in the Valley’s three constituencies was particularly noteworthy, marking the highest participation in three decades.

This historic turnout is attributed to concerted efforts by election and security officials to empower the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the youth, to engage in the democratic process. The significant involvement of younger voters, who constitute the majority of the electorate in the UT, underscores their faith in democracy.

In a move to ensure inclusivity, the Election Commission also facilitated voting for Kashmiri migrant voters residing in relief camps in Delhi, Jammu, and Udhampur. Special polling stations and postal ballot options were provided, with 21 stations in Jammu, one in Udhampur, and four in Delhi.

The Union Territory of Ladakh, established separately in 2019, also showed strong democratic engagement with a voter turnout of 71.82%.

The voter turnout data for previous elections highlights the transformative nature of this year’s participation:

– Srinagar: 14.43% (2019), 25.86% (2014)
– Baramulla: 34.6% (2019), 39.14% (2014)
– Anantnag: 8.98% (2019), 28.84% (2014)
– Udhampur: 70.15% (2019), 70.95% (2014)
– Jammu: 72.5% (2019), 67.99% (2014)

As part of its voter awareness initiatives, the Chief Electoral Officer of J&K organized a variety of activities under the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) program. These included adventure sports, symposiums, awareness rallies, and cultural performances, aimed at encouraging voter participation.

From constructing igloos as dummy polling stations in Baramulla to organizing a para-scooter event in Kathua and musical programs in Lal Chowk and Gulmarg, the UT witnessed a vibrant celebration of democracy. These efforts culminated in a historic voter turnout, signalling a rejuvenation of democratic spirit in every corner of Jammu and Kashmir.

This landmark participation marks a new chapter in India’s electoral history, reflecting the resilience and democratic aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.