Campaigning ends for Anantnag district

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 4/22/2019 2:04:40 PM

SRINAGAR, Apr 21: Campaigning ended this evening in the Anantnag district of Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency.
Anantnag district is the first among four districts in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency going to polls on April 23.
The election to militancy-hit Anantnag Lok Sabha seat will be conducted in three phases — April 23, April 29 and May 6 — during which 13.93 lakh voters will decide the fate of 18 candidates, including former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.
The Election Commission (EC) has reduced the polling by two hours in the constituency. The polling will now be held between 7.00 AM to 4.00 PM for security reasons.
Returning officer (RO) for Anantnag parliamentary constituency (PC), Khalid Jahangir, said that all arrangements, including three-tier security, have been put in place for conducting the elections in a secure and peaceful manner.
Election to the Lok Sabha seat will be held district wise as announced by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) on their respective dates, he said.
He said on April 23, polling will be held for Anantnag district only. Similarly, he said on April 29, voters from Kulgam district will exercise their franchise.
On May 6, polling will be held in Shopian and Pulwama districts respectively, he added.
He said assured minimum facilities (AMF) for polling stations with regard to power supply, furniture, water supply and other required facilities are being put in place.
The ramp facilities have also been ensured at the polling stations, he said.
Webcasting will be made at 28 polling locations in Anantnag district, he said.
The campaigning, which came to an end today, so far witnessed some militant attacks, including grenade attacks, firing on a vehicle carrying poll material, besides stone pelting. A PDP worker was shot at and critically wounded by unidentified gunmen last evening in Anantnag.
Even though there are 18 candidates seeking mandate from the constituency, the main contest is expected to be between Mehbooba, state Congress president G A Mir and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi. CPI(M), which has not fielded any candidate, is supporting NC nominee from Anantnag constituency.
Considered as stronghold of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following its win in 11 out of 16 Assembly segments in 2014, the constituency has witnessed major change after the party formed coalition government with the BJP in the state.
Though all political parties, including National Conference (NC), PDP, BJP and Congress organised poll meetings under very heavy security cover, majority people remained indifferent to election process.
Due to security reasons, by-poll could not be held in the constituency after the seat fell vacant when Mehbooba resigned to become the chief minister of the state following demise of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in 2016. However, by-poll in Srinagar constituency was held in 2016 after PDP MP Tariq Hameed Karra resigned in protest against party’s coalition with BJP.
Later, Dr Farooq Abdullah of NC was elected. But, the bypoll to Srinagar Lok Sabha seat was marred by violent clashes between security forces and protestors that left eight civilians dead.
Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference, which does not have much of a presence in south Kashmir, has fielded Chaudhry Zaffar Ali as its candidate.
The BJP, which had managed to garner only 1.26 per cent of the votes polled in Lok Sabha constituency during 2014 general election, has fielded Sofi Yousuf, a MLC this time.
Besides candidates from other smaller parties, there are the independent candidates in fray for the constituency.
The campaigning was not as vigorous in south Kashmir as it was in Srinagar and Baramulla parliamentary constituencies as some attacks were carried out by militants on political workers in the last over a fortnight.
Instead of big rallies as witnessed in central and north Kashmir, political parties are conducting smaller gathering with adequate arrangements of security.



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