LS Polls: Tight Security Arrangements in Kashmir Ahead of vote Counting on Tuesday

   

SRINAGAR: Stringent security arrangements have been made for the counting of votes for three Lok Sabha constituencies of Kashmir as additional security personnel have been deployed at key places in the valley, officials said on Monday.

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A three-tier security blanket has been thrown around the counting centres in Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag to ensure that no unauthorised person enters the premises, they said.

A tight vigil has been maintained around the strong rooms where electronic voting machines have been kept since the close of polling in respective constituencies.

Polls for the five parliamentary constituencies in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir were held in as many phases — April 19, April 26, May 13, May 20 and May 25.

Ahead of the counting of votes, the Returning Officers of the constituencies have held meetings with contesting candidates, election agents and representatives of political parties contesting in each of the Lok Sabha seats to familiarise them with the standard procedure of counting process prescribed by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The returning officer informed the participants about the sequence and procedures of the counting, including handling of EVMs, VVPATs, and the process of the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS).

An official spokesman said regular announcements would be made through the public address system at the counting hall on the counting day.

There are 66 candidates in the fray for the three Lok Sabha seats of Kashmir valley. Among the key candidates for the three seats are president of PDP Mehbooba Mufti, vice president of National Conference Omar Abdullah, separatist turned mainstream politician Sajad Gani Lone and former MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid alias Engineer Rashid, who is currently lodged in Tihar jail in a UAPA case.

While Mufti is up against prominent Gujjar and National Conference leader Mian Altaf Ahmad in Anantnag-Rajouri seat, Abdullah, Lone and Rashid are locked in a virtual triangular contest for the Baramulla Lok Sabha seat.

In the prestigious Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, both National Conference and the PDP have fielded young faces in Aga Roohullah and Waheed Para respectively.

Kashmir valley has witnessed record turnout in these Lok Sabha polls with more than 50 per cent of the electorate exercising their franchise.

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