‘Decisive’ Phase of Polling Tomorrow, Security on High Alert

KL Report

SRINAGAR

Authorities on Saturday started deploying 20,000 personnel of paramilitary forces to ensure incident free election on Sunday in Srinagar, Islamabad and Shopian districts official sources said.

These would be in addition to the already deployed Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Jammu and Kashmir Police, they added.

“There is no scare among people which was seen ahead of the earlier elections especially in Srinagar city,” an official said adding “Srinagar remained busy as usual on Saturday.”security (2)

Police sources said they have constituted eight anti-mobile-voters squads to check mobile voters in Srinagar. Each squad, they said, will be headed by a magistrate and assisted by a police officer. The squads will act against any mobile voter and inform the concerned zonal SP and PCR. Mobile voters, it may be recalled here, is a Srinagar centric phenomenon in which political parties were deploying non-local voters from periphery in Srinagar for polling in their voters. In most of the cases, these voters are rented for the day.

Fourth phase of J&K election is scheduled to take place on Sunday.

Meanwhile, election authorities distributed EVMs among the polling staff and dispatched them to their respective destinations.

Polling starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. After five rounds of polling, the votes will be counted Dec 23.

A total of 1,890 polling stations have been set up for the fourth phase of election.

The fourth phase of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections Sunday may well decide who will be the dominant player in the Kashmir Valley among the ruling National Conference and the PDP.

Some 14.73 lakh voters in 18 constituencies will be eligible to decide the fate of political heavyweights like Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

The constituencies are spread over four districts of Srinagar, Islamabad and Shopian in the valley and Samba district in Jammu region.

Of these, eight are in Srinagar district, six in Islamabad, two in Shopian and two in Samba district.

Omar Abdullah is contesting from Sonwar in Srinagar and Mufti from Islamabad.

Speaker J&K legislative assembly and NC leader, Mubarak Gul, is seeking re-election from Idgah in Srinagar district.

Another NC leader and minister in the fray is Ali Muhammad Sagar, who is seeking re-election for the fourth time from Khanyar, also in Srinagar district.

Congress leaders Peerzada Sayeed and G.A. Mir are contesting from south Kashmir’s Kokernag and Dooru constituencies, respectively.

In the outgoing assembly, nine of the 18 seats were held by the NC, six by the Peoples Democratic Party, two by the Congress and one by the Panthers Party.

For the NC and its principal challenger the PDP, the key to future power in Jammu and Kashmir is largely believed to lie in the fourth phase.

For the NC, retaining all its eight seats in Srinagar district has become a matter of life and death. Same is the case for the PDP n Islamabad and Shopian districts.

The prospect of who governs Kashmir depends chiefly on which of these two rivals is able to make inroads into each other’s political strongholds.

To ensure free and fair polls, the Election Commission has deputed macro and micro observers in addition to webcasting, videography and deployment of flying squads for the fourth phase.

Interesting aspect of the poll eve was that various families across the city received bank cheques worth Rs 3800 which were issued by the district administration. These cheques were part of the flood relief. This development took place amid allegations by the contestants that they are using unfair means to win over the voters on the eve of polls.

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