In Verinag, Congress supporters divided over choice of candidate

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The divide among the Congress voters in Verinag block of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, which went to polls on Monday, is quite evident.

Shahbaz Peer had been the block president of the party for long here and was expecting mandate for DDC polls.

However, Congress gave the ticket to Naseer Ahmad, son of GA Mir, the party’s J&K chief. Mir campaigned for his son and sought votes for him.

Peer quit the party and contested independently.

The move, however, has divided the voters of Congress in the block considered to be the party’s stronghold. “The Congress supporters are divided,” said an old-time party worker wishing not to be named.

Both the candidates are banking on the votes of upper reaches of the block – Kapran, Qammar, Imo and Nowgam which saw a good voter turnout.

The rivalry reached even the polling booth in Nowgam village where the supporters of one candidate alleged discrepancies in the voting.

“One of the ballot boxes was ferried in a vehicle separately only minutes after the voting concluded,” alleged the supporters of one candidate.

They exchanged blows with the rival supporters following which police had to intervene.

The supporters also pelted stones on the forces who in-turn lobbed tear gas shells and bought the situation under control.

The ballot box was later brought back to the polling booth and only dispatched alongside other boxes.

PAGD has fielded JKPM candidate Advocate Syed Muzafar while as BJP has given a ticket to Zahoor Ahmad Mir son of its slain worker Gul Muhammad Atal.

Atal, an old BJP loyalist, was killed by militants in 2018.