The counting for the closely-watched Srinagar by-polls began this morning with early trends giving an edge to former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah. Voting for the parliamentary seat last week was marked by a record low turnout of 7 per cent and violence. When voting took place for a second time on Thursday, only 2 per cent voters turned up, the lowest in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. Only 702 of 35,169 people voted.
There are nine candidates contesting for the seat, but it is a direct contest between Mr Abdullah and the ruling People's Democratic Party's Nazir Ahmed Khan. Mr Abdullah, 79, had lost the seat to PDP's Tariq Hameed Karra in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The seat fell vacant after Mr Karra resigned from the PDP and the Lok Sabha - he eventually joined the Congress which entered in a pre-poll alliance with the National Conference.