The southern Anantnag district will go to polls in the third phase of ongoing LokSabha elections amid heightened security on Tuesday.
The AnantnagLokSabha seat, which is going to polls in three-phases in view of “security concerns”, comprises four districts including Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian.
In the first phase of the scheduled three-phased polling, at least six assembly segments in the Anantnag district will go to the polls, including Anantnag, Bijbehara, Shangus, Kokernag, Dooru, and Pahalgam.
While the Kulgam district will vote in the fourth phase of general elections on April 29, the twin districts of Pulwama and Shopian will go to polls in the fifth phase on May 6.
At least 18 candidates are in fray in the southern parliamentary constituency, including Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, who is facing an uphill task of retaining her winning streak from here. Mehbooba is locked in a direct contest with senior Congress leader and J&K chief of the party Ghulam Ahmad Mir, judge-turned-politician HassnainMasoodi of the National Conference and SofiYousuf of the BharatiyaJanata Party.
The contestants also include a Supreme Court lawyer from New Delhi, Shams Khawaja, and an independent candidate RidwanaSanam, daughter of incumbent senior NC leader and former MLA Pahalgam, Abdul KabirPathan. Out of the total electorate of 14 lakh across the southern LokSabha constituency, 523566 are eligible to cast their votes in the first leg in Anantnag district on Tuesday, officials said.
714 polling stations have been set up at 419 polling locations in the district, they said. For migrant voters of the district, separate polling stations have been set up—21 in Jammu, one in Udhampur and four in New Delhi. Stringent security measures have been put in place for the polling, according to officials, as additional security personnel have been deployed across the Anantnag district to ensure peaceful and smooth conduct of elections, a security official said.