Kulgam votes today in 2nd leg of polling for Anantnag seat

All 433 polling stations declared highly sensitive
File Photo
File Photo

Kulgam district is scheduled to vote on Monday in the fourth phase of the ongoing LokSabha elections which will be the second leg of polling for the Anantnag seat.

"Stringent security measures have been put in place for thepolling in entire Kulgam district to ensure peaceful and smooth conduct ofelections," a police official said, adding that additional forces were deployedin the highly volatile areas.

The southern Kashmir parliamentary constituency comprises fourrestive districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian.

In the first leg Anantnag district voted during the thirdphase of the general elections on April 23, with a low turnout of 13.61percent. 

Owing to the prevailing security scenario in southernKashmir, the Election Commission of India (ECI) in an unprecedented movedecided to hold election for the single constituency in three phases.

All the 433 polling booths in Kulgam district have beendesignated as hypersensitive. Polling stations for migrant Kashmiri panditshave been set up at Jammu, Udhampur and New Delhi.

Kulgam district comprises four assembly segments – Kulgam,Home -Shalibugh( Qaimoh-Frisal-Yaripora) Noorabad (DamhalHanjipora) and Devsar(Qazigund- Devsar).

Polling for the Anantnag parliamentary seat will end duringthe fifth phase on May 6 when the twin districts of Pulwama and Shopian vote.

President of PDP Mehbooba Mufti, who is facing an uphilltask of retaining the seat is pitted against senior Congress leader and JKPCCchief GA Mir, the judge-turned politician HassnainMasoodi of NC and BJP'sSofiYousuf.

Eighteen candidates are in the fray for the AnantnagLokSabhaseat, among them a Supreme Court lawyer from New Delhi Shams Khawaja and anindependent candidate DrRizwanaSanam, daughter of senior NC leader and formerMLA Pahalgam Abdul KabirPathan.

Polling in southern Kashmir is being keenly watched withinand outside Kashmir, as the region has been on the edge since the killing ofHizb commander BurhanWani in June 2016.

In April 2017 the government fearing violence had to cancelby-elections that were necessitated for the Anantnag seat after Mehbooba Muftivacated it to return to state politics.

Campaigning in the constituency was low key campaign with nomajor rallies held as public meetings were largely confined behind closed doorsin government rest houses and town halls.

However, few well attended public meetings were held bypolitical parties mainly NC, PDP and Congress in remote areas like Kund valleyof Devsar, villages of Qazigund in Devsar and also in Damhal-Hanjipora inNoorbad.

These areas, political analysts believe are likely towitness good voter turnout.

"Kulgam and Homeshalibugh are very sensitive constituenciesas far as the security scenario is concerned," a police official said.

A police official said, Bogam, Bachroo, Bolsoo, Wokai,Mohamadpora, Tarigam, Ashmuji, Bhanin Kulgam and Qaimoh, Rampora, Khudwani, Redwani, Hawoora-Mishpora, Frisal,Yaripora, Kujar, Chainigam, and Arwani in Homeshaliugh have seen hightened militancyduring the last five years.

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