The battle for the assembly segment in Mendher is a virtual contest between the Gujjars and the Pahari Rajputs as the candidates from the National Conference and People's Democratic Party belong to the two respective communities.
Gujjar leader Javed Rana, who won this seat in the last election in 2002, is pitted in a neck-to-neck fight against PDP candidate and influential Pahari Rajput leader Rafiq Hussain Khan in the November 17 contest.
Rana is a prominent Gujjar and his brother former additional director general of police and Vice Chancellor Baba Gulam Shah Badshah University Maqsood Choudary is highly influential in the community in Rajouri and Poonch districts.
"I have full backing of the Gujjars as well as Paharis in the belt, where I have a good record for my work done in terms of development of the constituency," said Rana, for whom party chief Omar Abdullah has also canvassed votes.
Gujjars also connect with the NC as the wife of Kashmir's first chief minister and titan Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Begum Akbar Jehan, was a Gujjar.
Rana had won over 51 per cent of the electorate, winning 24530 votes in 2002.
On his part Rafiq Hussain Khan is making a pitch for the Pahari vote and is focussing on the "Good work done by the PDP and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed."
In 2002, he contested as an independent and secured 16,665 votes.