Lok Sabha elections 2019: Ladakh, two districts in south Kashmir vote today
Militants had killed BJP’s vice president for Anantnag Ghulam Mohammad Mir, 55, inside his house in Nowgam area of Verinag on Saturday night and shot at former political worker Abdul Rashid Bhat at Tral on Thursday.Updated: May 06, 2019 13:33 IST
Polling will be held in Ladakh Lok Sabha constituency and Pulwama and Shopian districts of Anantnag seat in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.
Two rounds of polling in Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, where elections are being held in three phases due to security reasons, had passed off peacefully on Aprill 23 and 29. However, the killing of a BJP leader and an attack on a former political worker in the constituency in three days has creating a sense of fear among the mainstream politicians.
Militants had killed BJP’s vice president for Anantnag Ghulam Mohammad Mir, 55, inside his house in Nowgam area of Verinag on Saturday night and shot at former political worker Abdul Rashid Bhat at Tral on Thursday.
On Friday, three militants, including Lateef Tiger, an associate of slain Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, were killed in an encounter in Shopian district and 40 civilians were injured in clashes following the killing of the militants.
Anantnag district, which went to the polls in the first round, recorded 13.63% voting. In the second phase of polling in the constituency, Kulgam witnessed 10.32% turnout.
In 2014, the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat had recorded around 29% voting.
Shopian and Pulwama districts, spread over six assembly segments of Tral, Pampore, Pulwama, Rajpora, Wachi and Shopian, have 5.22 lakh registered voters and 695 polling stations. All the polling booths have been declared hypersensitive and more than 30, 000 securitymen will be deployed there.
After the killing of the BJP leader, more preventive measures have been taken to make the polling incident-free.
In a massive crackdown in villages of Pulwama and Shopian, many youths with adverse police records have been arrested. Police described these arrests as “preventive measures” to ensure peaceful polling.
Officials said quick action teams of army, CRPF and police would also be kept ready to tackle any exigency.
These districts are crucial for Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, more so because the turnout was very low in the first two rounds of voting.
Apart from Mehbooba, 17 more candidates are in the fray.
Leaders of political parties are apprehensive of low polling turnout as Shopian and Pulwama are militancy-infested districts where the election campaign remained muted.
“Pulwama and Shopian districts were already volatile. The killing of three local militants and a BJP leader in Anantnag and the attack on a former political worker in Tral have further reduced the chance of good polling percentage,” said state Congress president and party candidate Ghulam Ahmad Mir.
Mehbooba Mufti, who is also a former state chief minister, said the government had turned Kashmir into a war field.
“The government is at war with its own people. Hundreds of youths have been detained in Kashmir in the name of stone pelting. Only in Pulwama, over hundreds of men have been arrested in the last four five days,” she said.
National Conference candidate justice (retired) Husnain Masoodi said the situation in the constituency was not good.
The Ladakh Lok Sabha seat, spread over Leh and Kargil districts, has 1,74,618 electorate.
First Published: May 06, 2019 13:32 IST