Poll, security staff reach polling stations in J&K



Heavy deployment of security forces has been made in Udhampur and Srinagar Lok Sabha constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir to secure polling stations and ensure free and fair polling on Thursday.

"Polling staff and the accompanying security component have reached and the 1,716 polling stations in Srinagar and 2,710 in Udhampur have been secured," election officials said on Wednesday.

"12,90,318 electors will cast vote in Srinagar and 16,85,779 in Udhampur. The voting will start at 7 a.m. and end at 6 p.m.," the officials said.

Contingents of central armed forces and state police have been deployed for the poll process. 

"Additional contingents of police and central armed forces have been deployed to sanitise areas in the constituencies to prevent militants from disrupting the process. Sufficient security force deployments are in place to escort the poll staff and EVMs for safe deposit at designated places in the two constituencies," said a senior state police officer.

In remote and sensitive areas, Rashtriya Rifles personnel have been deployed for round the clock patrolling and area domination, top sources said.

There are 12 candidates in the fray for the Srinagar seat, with main contenders being National Conference (NC) President Farooq Abdullah, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s Aga Syed Mohsin, Peoples Conference's (PC) Irfan Raza Ansari and Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Khalid Jahangir.

The Congress has not fielded candidate against Abdullah who is seeking re-election from the constituency. 

In Udhampur, the main contest is between outgoing BJP MP Jitendra Singh and Vikramaditya Singh of the Congress. Both the NC and the PDP have not fielded candidates to consolidate secular vote in favour of Vikramaditya Singh, grandson of the J&K's erstwhile Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh.

There are 10 other candidates in the race, including J&K National Panthers Party (JKNPP) leader Bhim Singh and BJP rebel Choudhary Lal Singh who has formed the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan to challenge the BJP. IANS