Anantnag, May 5: All arrangements, including three-tier security, have been made for conducting free, fair and peaceful election in the twin south Kashmir districts of Pulwama and Shopian during the third and final phase of polling for Anantnag Parliamentary constituency on Monday.
Voting will be held on Monday from 0700 hrs to 1600 hrs in Pulwama and Shopian, where life remained crippled for the third successive day on Sunday due to strike against the killing of three militants on Friday.
Anantnag is the only constituency in the country where polling was being held in three phases for security reasons.
“All arrangements, including three-tire security, have been put in place for conducting the elections in secure and peaceful manner,” an official said.
“Over 5.22 lakh electors are going to exercise their franchise in the twin districts spread over six assembly segments comprising Tral, Pampore, Pulwama, Rajpora, Wachi and Shopian. As many as 695 polling stations have been established across the districts for smooth conduct of the elections,” he said.
Polling in the first two phases in the constituency on April 23 in Anantnag district and 29 in Kulgam district were by and large peaceful. Anantnag recorded 13.59 per cent while Kulgam 10.35 per cent polling.
There was hardly any major election meeting though political parties, participating in the polls managed to organise some under unprecedented security arrangements.
Leaders of political parties again raised the issue of Article 370 and 35 A besides ban on civilian traffic movement twice in a week on Sunday and Wednesday to allow free and secure movement of security force convoy on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway. There was absolutely no mention of development, employment and other local issues during the campaign.
Interestingly, the main regional parties National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) blamed each other for erosion of Special Status of the state. During this phase a number of senior BJP leaders also managed to address indoor election meetings who avoided mention of Article 370 and 35 A.
Even though there are candidates in fray, the main contest is between former chief minister and President of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief G A Mir, and Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi.
The other candidates in fray are Sofi Yousuf of Bharatiya Janta Party, Nisar Ahmad Wani of Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers Party, Choudhary Zaffar Ali of Jammu Kashmir People’s Conference, Sanjay Kumar Dhar of Manav Adhikar Party, Surinder Singh of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) and Imtiyaz Ahmad Rather, Ridwana Sanam, Riyaz Ahmad Bhat, Zubair Masoodi, Shams Khwaja, Ali Mohammad Wani, Ghulam Mohammad Wani, Kyasir Ahmed Sheikh, Manzoor Ahmad Khan and Mirza Sajad Hussain Beigh, all independents.
These two south Kashmir districts have 5,22,530 electors, including 2,50,735 females, 657 service electors (11 females) and 11 transgender voters.
“Pulwama District has 3,51,314 electors, including 1,69,508 females, 541 service electors (8 female) and 06 transgender voters,” he said.
The Election Commission (EC) has set up 450 polling stations across the district. “District Pulwama comprises four assembly segments of Tral, Pampore, Pulwama and Rajpora,” he said, adding Rajpora Assembly segment has the highest number of 95,633 electors while as Pampore has the lowest 82,188 electors.
“Tral assembly segment has 88,617 electors, 42,650 females, 329 service voters (5 female) and single transgender voter,” he said.
Pulwama assembly segment has 84,876 electors, including 40,890 females and 101 service voters (three females). Similarly, Shopian district has 171,216 electors, including 81,227 females, 116 service electors (3 female) and five transgender voters, he said, adding the EC has set up 245 polling stations across the district.
Wachi assembly segment has 83,532 electors, 39,614 females, 66 service voters (3 females) and four transgender voters. “Shopian assembly segment has 87,684 electors, including 41,613 females, 50 male service voters, and a single transgender voter,” he said.