Srinagar, Apr 10: Amid heightened security, Baramulla and Jammu Lok Sabha constituencies in J&K will go for parliamentary elections in the first phase on Thursday.
The poll campaigning by the political parties ended on Tuesday in both the constituencies and the Jammu and Kashmir Election Commission has deputed its officials in all the polling stations along with polling material.
The north Kashmir’s Baramulla parliamentary constituency has 15 Assembly segments in Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora districts with over 13 lakh voters spread over 1,749 polling stations.
Baramulla district has the highest 6,36,450 electorates, followed by Kupwara (4,38,285) and Bandipora (2,33,797).
The Assembly segments of the constituency include Karnah, Kupwara, Lolab, Handwara and Langate in district Kupwara; Uri, Rafiabad, Sopore, Sangrama, Baramulla, Gulmarg and Pattan in Baramulla District; and Gurez, Bandipora and Sonawari in Bandipora district.
An assessment by election commission has revealed that 70 percent of the polling stations in the constituency fall in “hypersensitive” category while the remaining 30 per-cent have been declared “sensitive”.
Police said a three-tier security was already in place, adding advanced security measures have been taken for dealing with sensitive and hypersensitive polling stations.
“We have intensified night patrolling and vulnerable places in the constituency have been identified. Additional companies of central armed forces have been deployed at polling stations throughout these three districts,” a senior police official said.
He said that heavy deployment of forces has been made along the highway in order to ensure smooth movement of the electorate and the polling officers.
Deputy Inspector General North, Suleman Choudhary told The Kashmir Monitor that the entire security arrangement in these three districts of north Kashmir has been done on the basis of requirement.
“There has been an enhancement of the security forces particularly for the areas where polling booths have been declared sensitive and hyper sensitive,” he said.
Director General Police (DGP), Dilbagh Singh said that police and paramilitary contingents have reached polling stations and are in full command of the situation in five police districts of Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency and four police districts of Jammu parliamentary constituency scheduled to go to polls on Thursday.
“The police and paramilitary forces have reached polling stations in five police districts of Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency and four police districts of Jammu Lok Sabha constituency,” adding that “situation is in full command as all security arrangements are in place and besides district SPs, the commandants of armed police battalions have been also engaged with the security arrangements for first phase of parliamentary polls in Baramulla and Jammu parliamentary constituencies.”
The Baramulla Lok Sabha seat is set to witness a triangular contest between Muhammad Akbar Lone of National Conference, Raja Aijaz Ali of Peoples Conference and Abdul Qayoom Wani of the People’s Democratic Party.
Er Rasheed is equally declared as a potential candidate who successfully has attracted large number of people in his rallies during last one month.
As many as nine candidates are in the fray for the constituency including Haji Farooq Ahmad Mir of Congress, Mohammad Maqbool War of BJP, Jahangir Khan of J&KNPP, Abdul Qayoom Wani of PDP, Mohammad Akbar Lone of NC, Raja Aijaz Ali of J&KPC and independents Javid Ahmad Qureshi, Syed Najeeb Shah Naqvi and Engineer Rashid.
The constituency is represented by PDP’s Muzzaffar Baig, who in 2014 defeated NC’s Sharief-Ud-Din Sharik by 29,219 votes.
The constituency previously recorded 39.6 per cent voter turnout in 2014.
While urban areas including Baramulla, Sopore and Pattan towns mostly go with the boycott, the voting is expected to be brisker in frontier district Kupwara and Uri in Baramulla.
Unlike Kashmir, Jammu is likely to witness heavy polling considering people’s participation in the political activities for the last one month.
Jammu regions, which has two Lok Sabha seats has as many as 10,70,014 who will cast their votes at 1,380 polling stations to decide the political fortune of 24 candidates.
The seat which has two constituencies including Jammu and Udhampur has four districts- Samba, Jammu, Poonch and Rajouri. There are 20 voting segments in this Lok Sabha constituency..
Both the seats of the region including Jammu and Udhampur are represented by BJP’s Jugal Kishore and Jitendra Singh, who in 2014 defeated Congress heavyweight Madan Lal Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad, respectively.
The BJP for 2019 election repeated its previous candidates, while Congress has changed its face for Jammu Lok Sabha by fielding its senior vice president and former minister Raman Bhalla and grandson of the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, Vikramaditya Singh from Udhampur seat.
Security has been tightened around the polling station in the constituency segments particular in Pir Panchal, Chenab regions and Jammu city.
An official said the poll material and staff has been deputed at the polling station a day ahead of the election.