Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Multi-layered security for voting in Anantnag on Monday
Security forces were moved out early on Saturday to take over the polling stations across the district that has witnessed bloody gunfights between the security forces and the militants during the last three years.Updated: Apr 29, 2019 09:28 IST
Elaborate arrangements are in place to ensure peaceful and fair poll process for the second phase of voting in Anantnag Lok Sabha seat of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.
A top police officer told Hindustan Times that over 20,000 security personnel have been deployed in Kulgam district beside additional deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and police around the polling stations. The army has been assigned for area domination to keep militants at bay from targeting polling stations or staff.
Security forces were moved out early on Saturday to take over the polling stations across the district that has witnessed bloody gunfights between the security forces and the militants during the last three years.
“The shifting of EVMs to places designated for their safe deposit and ensuring safety to the poll staff after they discharge their duties during the day is another major challenge the security forces face in this constituency,” poll officials said.
With highest number of voters, Kulgam district is spread over four assembly segments of Noorabad, Kulgam, Homshalibugh and Devsar.
Voting will take place in 433 polling stations and a total of 3.45 lakh electors are eligible to vote in the second leg of three-phase poll process for Anantnag constituency. The first phase of voting in the district witnessed mute turnout of 13.63 percent with few incidents of miscreants pelting stones at vehicles carrying the poll staff and security forces back to the district headquarters on April 23.
Highest polling was recorded in Pahalgam assembly segment 20.37 percent while Bijbhera witnessed lowest turnout of 2.04 percent.
Watch | Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Watch out for these big fights in Phase 4
PDP’s fate hangs in balance
With as many as 18 candidates in the fray, it is a triangular contest between Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference’s Justice (retd) Husnain Masoodi and Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir.
The high-profile elections are crucial for the political future of Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP.
Since the formation of the party in 1999, four districts of south Kashmir became party’s bastion with its candidates winning 12 seats in 2008 and 11 in 2014. However, fighting for survival today, the party has pinned all its hopes on Mehbooba’s victory from the seat , which could give a boost to the otherwise demoralised cadres of the PDP.
Mufti won this Lok Sabha seat in 2014 by defeating NC candidate Mehboob Beg by more than 65,000 votes. She resigned in 2016 to become the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir following the death of her father besides here intention to field younger brother Tasaduq Mufti from there. A byelection to fill the seat could not be held due to the volatile situation in this militancy hotbed.
The low poll percentage in the phase first has left PDP’s leadership worried as two places-- Bijbehara and Anantnag--which where considered party’s stronghold witnessed mere 3,909 votes. Political analysts said the poor turnout would affect the prospects of Mehbboba in the constituency which also has pockets of NC and Congress support.
However, despite low turnout, PDP leaders remain upbeat regarding their win and are optimistic of improvement in poll percentage in the next two phases.
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