Stage is set for second phase of Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir which will seal the fate of 175 candidates, including deputy speaker, four ministers and 11 other sitting MLAs, amidst tight security in Kulgam and Kupwara districts following killing of sarpanch by militants.
"We have deployed additional 220 companies of paramilitary security personnel, besides the police for the second phase of polling tomorrow in the two districts of the Valley," inspector general of police Kashmir AG Mir told PTI.
Mir said based on the experience from the first phase of polling, "we have fine tuned our preparations for the second phase". He said the security grid is fully geared up to foil any attempts of militants to disrupt the democratic process.
Militants last night shot dead a National Conference sarpanch Mohammad Sultan Bhat in Shopian district. Although Shopian is not going to polls tomorrow, it shares its boundary with Kulgam district where polling will be held on Tuesday.
As many as 18 Assembly segments, spread over five districts -- two in the Valley and three in Jammu region --will go to polls tomorrow to decide the fate of 175 candidates which includes the lone woman minister in the National Conference-Congress coalition government Sakina Ittoo. Of the 18 constituencies, Handwara in north Kashmir Kupwara district will be the focus of attention as separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajad Gani Lone is making debut in Assembly elections after unsuccessfully contesting the Lok Sabha polls in 2009.
Lone's campaign has come under attack from National Conference after the former separatist leader met the Prime Minister on November 10. Although he dismissed suggestions that the meeting had anything to do with the elections, this defence could not hold much water in view of BJP not fielding a candidate from his constituency.