Indian media: 'Good turnout' in Kashmir polls

Elections will conclude in Indian-administered Kashmir on 20 December Image copyright EPA
Image caption Elections will conclude in Indian-administered Kashmir on 20 December

Papers praise a "good voter turnout" in the fourth phase of the state elections in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The state witnessed a 49% turnout amid calls for a boycott by separatist leaders, papers say.

The percentage was marginally higher than the last polls in 2008, but lower than the first three phases of the ongoing elections, papers reported.

The average turnout was 71% in the first two phases and 59% in the third phase.

Results will be announced on 23 December after the completion of all five phases.

"Braving the cold, Kashmiris came out to vote in large numbers in the fourth phase of assembly elections on Sunday," the Hindustan Times reports.

Kashmir usually sees low voter turnout as separatists urge people to boycott polls, but many voters have "defied" the calls this year, reports say.

"Defying separatists' boycott call, the polling in the four districts - Srinagar, Anantnag, Shopian and Samba (Jammu region) - was 4% higher than that in the 2008 assembly elections," The Indian Express reports.

The NDTV website says an "unprecedented number of first time voters came to polling booths. They said they are voting for change".

Some papers, however, feel the reason for the higher turnout could be to stop the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from gaining foothold in the region's politics.

Senior BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have promised to develop the region in their poll campaigns.

"In Habbakadal, a traditional boycott stronghold, the turnout of Sunday was twice that from last time... And many of those who voted said they did so to keep the BJP out," The Indian Express reports.

Lima deal

In some international news, papers are highlighting an agreement on how countries should tackle climate change following UN members' two-week talks in Lima, Peru.

Environmental groups said the deal was an ineffectual compromise, but the EU said it was a step towards achieving a global climate deal next year in Paris.

India's Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said "this is not the best text that we could have had but certainly the best that we could have secured in the circumstance", The Indian Express reports.

Differences between rich and poor countries over how to spread the burden of pledges to cut carbon emissions have been the reason for failure to reach a global environmental deal.

The Financial Express says "most of what Lima was supposed to deliver on has been put off for the time being with the hope that they would get decided in the run-up to and during the next climate change conference, in Paris in 2015".

And finally, in a tragic road accident, a drunk driver ran over three policemen in Delhi on Sunday, killing two of them, The Times of India reports.

"Two cops were crushed to death and another critically injured when they tried to stop a speeding cabbie near Kalindi Kunj area early on Sunday," the paper reports.

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