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Now, the tough part

With the first three phases of the seven-phase Jammu and Kashmir election completed, the easy part is over. For poll officials, the tough part is just beginning.

india Updated: Dec 02, 2008 01:42 IST
Arun Joshi

With the first three phases of the seven-phase Jammu and Kashmir election completed, the easy part is over. For poll officials, the tough part is just beginning.

There were indeed some constituencies among the 21 that have already polled, where separatists, who have called for boycotting the elections, have a strong base. All these regions ignored the separatists and voted in large numbers. The turnout in the first three phases was 68.9 per cent, 67 per cent and 67.03 per cent respectively.

But there are many more separatist dominated regions in the 66 seats – out of 87 – that will hold elections in the next four phases. The fourth phase with 18 seats includes areas like Sopore - to which Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani belongs – and Soibug, where Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin hails from.

" The challenges are increasing with every phase,” agreed Director General of Police Kuldip Khoda .