The stage is set for Srinagar by-polls on Sunday that will decide the fate of former Chief Minister and National Conference candidate Dr Farooq Abdullah who is seeking his mandate to Indian Parliament after tasting defeat at the hands of Tariq Hamid Karra by a big margin in last Parliament elections.
The by-polls for the seat were necessitated following the resignation of erstwhile People’s Democratic Party Parliament member Tariq Hamid Karra who joined Congress party and has been backing Farooq Abdullah.
National Conference is confident that Farooq Abdullah this time will bag the seat. Except once, he has never lost any Parliament or Assembly election in his three decade long political career.
Farooq Abdullah this time is locking horns with previous Congress leader who recently joined PDP Nazir Ahmed Khan who contested Assembly elections from Beerwah constituency on Congress ticket in 2014 and lost to his rival Omar Abdullah with a thin margin.
Seven other independent candidates including Bikram Singh, Chetan Sharma, Sajad Reshi, Ghulam Hasan Dar, Farooq Ahmed Dar, Mehraj Khurshid Malik and Mirza Sajad Hussain Beigh are also in the fray. No polling station in Srinagar and Budgam have been categorized as normal by the Election Commission.
Srinagar Parliamentary constituency is composed of 15 assembly segments including Kangan, Ganderbal, Hazratbal, Zadibal, Idgah, Khanyar, Habbakadal, Amirakadal, Sonwar, Batamaloo, Chadoora, Budgam, Beerwah, Khansahab and Charar-i-Sharif.
“Based on threat perception by intelligence agencies and security forces, the EC has categorized most of the polling stations as ‘hyper sensitive’ and ‘sensitive,” an official said.
Police and paramilitary forces are being deployed in sufficient strength to secure the polling stations and voters. Fearing protests and violence, police have launched a crackdown in different parts and many youth have been rounded up and lodged in different police stations. Voting will begin at 7 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. (CNS)