Keen fight as many prominent contestants in fray today

Polling parties being dispatched to Marheen and Nagrota Gujroo seats from Kathua on Wednesday.
Polling parties being dispatched to Marheen and Nagrota Gujroo seats from Kathua on Wednesday.

20 seats to go to polling in Jammu, 17 Kashmir
30 Sarpanchs elected unopposed in Phase-V

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Dec 9: Twenty Territorial constituencies spread over all 10 districts of Jammu region will go to votes in fifth phase of the District Development Council (DDC) elections tomorrow including some of the segments which are likely to witness keen contest among prominent political personalities.
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Maximum three segments of Gundana, Kahara and Thathri will have voting in Doda district tomorrow while in Ramban district, just single seat of Batote will go to polls.
Other seats which will see polling tomorrow include Mandal Phallian and Miran Sahib in Jammu district, Nud and Ramgarh-B (Samba), Marheen and Nagrota Gujroo (Kathua), Arnas and Bhamag (Reasi), Palmar and Thakraie (Kishtwar), Khoon and Majalta (Udhampur), Kalakote and Dhangri (Rajouri) and Poonch and Lassana (Poonch).
Former BJP Minister Shakti Raj Parihar is seeking election from second Territorial constituency of Gundana in Doda district tomorrow. Pitted against him is joint candidate of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) Advocate Asim Hashmi among others. Parihar was also the BJP candidate from Marmat seat where voting has already been held.
Manju Singh wife of former Cabinet Minister and National Panthers Party (NPP) supremo Harshdev Singh and Juhi Manhas wife of former BJP MLA from Ramnagar Ranbir Singh Pathania are pitted against each other from Women Reserve constituency of Khoon in Udhampur district besides other candidates. In Majalta, the second constituency which will witness polling tomorrow, the main contest is between Rajesh Sharma of NPP and Amit Sharma of BJP.

SEC KK Sharma addressing a press conference in Jammu on Wednesday.
SEC KK Sharma addressing a press conference in Jammu on Wednesday.

Sushma Thakur wife of former National Conference MLA late Rashpal Singh Thakur is facing Anita Thakur of BJP, who happens to be the wife of Rashpal Singh’s brother Randhir Singh, from Kalakote constituency in Rajouri district. Candidates of other parties are also in the fray.
Sarf Singh Nag, who had quit the Government job as JKAS officer, is the BJP candidate from Bhomag seat in Reasi district in tomorrow’s polling. He is facing Hukam Singh of the Congress among other candidates. Nag had contested Reasi Assembly seat in 2014 as an Independent candidate and lost by just few hundred votes.
BJP district president for Poonch Mohammad Rafiq Chisti is in the contest with Congress district president for Poonch Gani Choudhary besides Jammu Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) nominee Radham Preet Singh, who has the backing of Gupkar Alliance. Other candidates are also in the fray.
A total of 37 District Development Council (DDC) constituencies will witness polling in the fifth phase of ongoing polls, besides 58 vacant Sarpanch and 218 Panch seats tomorrow, State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma told reporters here this evening.
Besides 20 seats of Jammu, voting will be held in 17 seats of Kashmir, he said.
For 17 DDC constituencies of Kashmir division going to poll tomorrow, there are 155 candidates in fray including 30 females. In Jammu division, there are 144 candidates in fray for the 20 DDC constituencies in this phase, including 40 women.
The SEC further said 125 Sarpanch vacancies were notified for elections in the fifth phase and out of them 30 have been elected unopposed. There will be contest in 58 constituencies and 175 candidates including 51 females are in fray.
Similarly, he said, that out of the total 1412 Panch vacancies notified in this phase, 218 constituencies will go for elections with 527 candidates including 137 female candidates.
Sharma said 8,27,519 electors are eligible to cast their votes including 4,33,285 males and 3,94,234 females. Amongst them, 4,395,29 are from Jammu division and 3,87,990 in Kashmir division.
He said that 2104 polling stations have been setup across the UT for this phase out of which 914 are in Jammu division and 1190 are in Kashmir division. Of 2104 polling stations, 1193 are hyper sensitive, 472 sensitive and 439 have been categorized as normal.
The SEC said that out of these 2104 polling stations, there shall be poll for Sarpanch vacancies on 271 polling stations and Panch vacancies on 229 polling stations, along with the DDC polls. Polling will be held from 7 am to 2 pm.
He added that all the requisite arrangements for this phase are in place including manpower, election material and security arrangements in all poll going areas. In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, adequate arrangements have been put in place to ensure safety of all stake holders including the voters coming to vote at the polling stations.
Sanitizers, thermal scanners and face masks have been arranged at the polling stations to ensure that SOPs issued by the concerned authorities, including wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing, are strictly followed at the polling stations.