Polling in Shopian, Pulwama districts, Ladakh today

The twin districts of Shopian and Pulwama in Anantnag parliamentary constituency and the two districts of Ladakh are going to polls Monday in the fifth phase of LokSabha elections.

While the polling staff in all the poll bound districts were dispatched to their designated polling stations on Sunday, the polling officials deployed in Shopian’sWachi assembly segment were airlifted from Shopain town to Zainpora.

A police official told Greater Kashmir that 81 additional companies of paramilitary forces were called in for the smooth conduct of polling in troubled Shopian and Pulwama districts.

The Shopian district sprawls over Shopian and Wachi assembly segments with the total number of 171,216 electorate including 89,868 males and 81,227 females.

A total number of 245 polling stations— 127 in Shopian constituency and 118 in Wachi constituency— were set up in the district.

District Election Officer, ShopianDrOwais Ahmad in a statement said that 127 poll parties were sent to 36-Shopian assembly segment and 118 to 35- Wachi assembly segment.

He said that eight model polling stations were also set up in the district.

An official told Greater Kashmir that the polling staff along with election material for 39 polling stations located in restive Wachi constituency were airlifted from District Police Lines to Zainapora.

“From Zainpora the polling staff was sent to their respective polling stations amid stringent security arrangements along the road,” he said. 

The Pulwama district is spread across four assembly segments including Pulwama, Tral, Rajpora and Pampore.  The district has 351,314 voters. Of them 181,259 are males and 169, 508 are females.

An official at Pulwama said that a total number of 450 polling stations were set up across the district. “Of them 110 polling stations are set up in Pulwama and 111 in Tral assembly constituencies even as Pampore and Rajpora segments have 107 and 122 polling stations respectively,” the official said.

District Election Officer Dr Syed Abid Rashid Shah in a statement said a total number of 1900 polling personnel were dispatched to all four assembly constituencies for the smooth conduct of elections.

The elections for the two legs of the AnantnagLokSabha seat were already held on April 23 and April 29.

A total number of 18 candidates are scrambling for the prestigious AnantnagLokSabha seat.

The contenders include Justice HasnainMasoodi of National Conference, Mehbooba Mufti of Peoples Democratic Party, SofiYousuf of BhartiyaJanta Party, Ghulam Ahmad Mir of Congress party, Nisar Ahmad Wani of National Panthers Party, ChoudaryZaffar Ali of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference, Sanjay Kumar Dhar of ManavAdhikar Party, Surindra Singh of PragatisheelSamajWasi Party (Lohia) and Independent candidates Imtiyaz Ahmad Rather, RidwanaSanam, Riyaz Ahmad Bhat,ZubairMasoodi, Shams Khawaja, Ali MohdWani, Kaysir Ahmad Sheikh, Manzoor Ahmad Khan and MirzaSajadHussain.

The voters, according to a poll official, could cast their ballot from 7 am to 4 pm in Pulwama and Shopian districts.

The main contest in the last leg of polling is seen between the National Conference and PDP candidates.

In 2014 general elections, the seat was won by PDP candidate Mehbooba Mufti. She, however, resigned in 2016 after taking over as the Chief Minister of state

LADAKH

The two districts of Leh and Kargil in the cold desert of Ladakh are also going to polls today.

Spread over four assembly segments Kargil, Zanaskar, Nubra and Leh, the parliamentary constituency has total number of 174,618 voters.  Of them 86752 are males while 85,064 are females.

According to an official statement, a total number of 559 polling stations were set up across the constituency.

“Of them 265 polling stations were set up in Kargil district while 294 poll stations were established in Leh district,” the statement said.

The highest polling station, Alay Pho (Changthang), according to the statement, was set up in Leh district at an altitude of 15,000 feet near Line of Actual Control.

District Election Officer Leh, AvnyLavasa in a statement said that 172 polling parties along with poll material were dispatched to their designated to polling stations.

He said that 49 polling stations would have the all female staff.

Similarly, in another statement, District Election Officer Kargil, BaseerulHaqChoudary said that polling parties with election material were departed from Khree Sultan Chow stadium to their respective polling stations in Kargil.

For the LadakhLokSabha seat, there are four candidates in the fray. RigzinSpalbar is contesting on Congress party’s ticket while JamyangTseringNamgayal is BhartiyaJanta Party candidate for the seat. 

PDP and National Conference did not field their candidates and extended their support to independent candidate SajjadKargili.

Former Congress party lawmaker Asgar Ali Karbalai is also contesting the election as an in independent candidate.

Kargili is supported by influential Islamia School while Karbalia enjoys the support of Imam Khomaini Trust.

While both the Congress and the BJP candidates have a strong voter base in Buddhist dominated Leh, Kargili and Karbali bank on Shia majority Kargil for their votes.

In 2014, the seat was won by BJP candidate ThupstanChewang. He, however, resigned in December 2018 citing that the BJP had “failed” to keep its poll promise of providing Ladakh the status of Union Territory. Chewang also resigned from the basic membership of the BJP.