Kashmir voters go to polls in 4th phase of India's general election

Voters in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir have cast their ballots in the fourth phase of India's general election.

The fourth round of the seven-phase election took place on Monday in 96 of the country's 543 electoral districts.

The security presence was heavy in Srinagar, a major city in Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir state, as voters headed to polling stations.

In 2019, India's government ended the 70-year-old autonomy of the state and brought it under its direct control. The government's attempt to strengthen its governance of the region was largely unpopular in the Muslim-majority state.

It remains to be seen how voters will evaluate the government's handling of the region in the first general poll since the end of its autonomy.

During the election campaign, two regional parties demanded that autonomy be reinstated and called for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to step down. Members of an emerging party, meanwhile, expressed a conciliatory stance toward his economic policy, which is focused on promoting the region's tourism and investment in infrastructure.

A man in his 40s said he cast his ballot in order to win back autonomy. Another voter in his 20s said he is concerned about a number of issues that the region faces, including job creation and infrastructure development.

All ballots will be counted on June 4.