J&K to decide fate of 138 candidates in 3rd phase polling tomorrow

SRINAGAR :  Jammu and Kashmir people would decide the fate of 138 candidates, including of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and a number of several present and former ministers and ex and sitting MLAs, in the third phase polling tomorrow.    Candidates of different political parties in the state, left no stone unturned, campaigned door-to-door to woo voters.    After organising hundreds of election rallies and road shows despite militant violence, candidates of different political campaigned in 16 Assembly segments.
Fate of 138 candidates, including of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and a number of several present and former ministers and ex and sitting MLAs, would be decided tomorrow.    Concerned over the violence, during the electioneering in which 26 people, including 11 security personnel, nine militants were killed, more than 420 companies of security forces and state police personnel have been deployed to ensure free, fair and peaceful polling in these constituencies, spread over Baramulla, Pulwama and Badgam districts in the Kashmir valley.    The poll staff alongwith EVMs and other poll material have already started their journey towards respective polling stations.
As the campaigning ended last evening, candidates and their supporters were now canvassing door-to-door to woo voters.
Officials said all arrangements had been made for free, fair and peaceful polling in these constituencies where 13,69,102 voters, including 6,51,245 women will seal the fate of 138 candidates tomorrow when polling will be held from 0800 hrs to 1600 hrs at 1781 polling booths, majority of them sensitive and hyper sensitive.
There are a total of 19575 migrant voters in these constituencies.
The constituencies going to polls are Uri, Rafiabad, Sopore, Sangrama, Baramulla, Gulmarg and Pattan in Baramulla district, Chadoora, Badgam, Beerwa, Khansahib and Charar-e-Sharief in Badgam district and Tral, Pampore, Pulwama and Rajpora in Pulwama district.
Senior leaders of different political parties, including NC, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Awami Mutahida Mahaz (AMM) and Awami Itehad Party (AIP) addressed hundreds of election meetings and road shows in these constituencies.
The NC and PDP alleged each other to have secret understanding with the BJP and claimed that they alone can defeat the saffron party in its Mission 44 +.
The PDP has to defend 9 seats of Sangrama, Baramulla and Pattan in Baramulla district, Chadoora in Badgam and Tral, Pampore, Pulwama and Rajpora in Pulwama.    The NC has four seats-Rafiabad, Sopore, Badgam and Charar-e-Sharief and Congress, Democratic Party National (DPN)and Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) one each- Uri, Gulmarg and Khansahib respectively. DPN and PDF are now part of the AMM, headed by State secretary of the Communist Party of India (M) Mohammad Yousuf Targami.
Mr Abdullah is seeking election from Beerwa constituency in the central Kashmir district of Badgam.    Mr Abdullah, the NC working president, is also contesting from Sonawar constituency in Srinagar district after shifting from Ganderbal, a seat represented by him in 2008, his father Dr Farooq Abdullah and grandfather Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah since 1977 after Indira-Sheikh accord in 1975, barring once in 2002 when he lost to PDP candidate Qazi Mohammad Afzal.    Article 370 was the main election issue, raised by the local political parties during the electioneering.    The highest number of 15 candidates are in the fray in Sopore followed by Rafiabad and Pattan 12 each, Baramulla 11 candidates, Sangrama and Pulwama 10 each, Gulmarg, Charar-e-Sharief and Rajpora 8 each, Chadoora, Badgam and Tral 7 each, Beerwah, Khansahib and Pampore six each and lowest five in Uri.    The BJP had fielded 8 candidates during 2008 assembly election who could get only 4600 votes.
The highest number of 1051 votes were polled by Mir Fayaz Ahmad Rahat in Badgam and lowest 185 in Rajpora constituency.
Last time the BJP had fielded a woman candidate from border constituency of Uri who polled 655 votes from among 81.73 per cent polling.
The highest number of 15 candidates are seeking mandate from Sopore, followed by Rafiabad and Pattan 12 each, Baramulla 11, Sangrama and Pulwama 10 each, Gulmarg, Charar-e-Sharief and Rajpora 8 each, Badgam, Chadoora and Tral seven each, Pampore, Khansahib and Beerwah six each and Uri five.    During 2008, the highest voter turnout of 81.73 per cent was recorded in border constituency of Uri, where eight army personnel, including an officer, 3 police personnel and 6 fidayeen were killed on December 5, and the lowest 19.95 per cent polling in Sopore, stronghold of chairman of hardliner Hurriyat Conference (HC).
Meanwhile, unprecedented security arrangements had been made for free, fair and peaceful polling tomorrow.    The highest number of 825 polling stations were set up in Baramulla for 5,91,875 voters, followed by 547 polling booths for 4,45,208 voters in Badgam and Pulwama 409 polling stations for 3,32,019 votes in Pulwama district.     Official sources said besides Army and other security personnel, already deployed for counter insurgency operations, thousands of paramilitary forces and state police personnel have been deployed for free, fair and peaceful polling tomorrow.    There are 19,575 migrants voters in these 16 assembly constituencies.
However, the migrant voters could hardly have any impact on the success of any candidate going to voter turnout in these constituencies in 2008, including strong hold of chairman of hardliner Hurriyat Conference (HC) Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Sopore, where lowest 19.95 voter turnout was recorded.    However, BJP has not fielded any candidate from this constituency, where the number of migrant voters is 1962.    Baramulla constituency has highest number of 2567 voters followed by Gulmarg 2513 voters,  Rajpora  2371 voters, Tral 1445 votes,  Pulwama 1192 votes, Pampore 1041 voters, Budgam 1012 voters, Chari Sharief 892 voters, Rafiabad 837 voters, Sangrama 807 voters, Beerwa 699 voters, Chadoora 692 voters,  Pattan 610, Khansahib 602 voters, and Uri 333 voters.    The authorities have made arrangements at Udhampur, Jammu and Delhi for migrant voters to cast their votes. (UNI)

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