Polling was underway Monday in Shopian and Pulwama districts — part of Anantnag Lok Sabha seat and in Ladakh constituency of Jammu and Kashmir amidst stringent security arrangements, officials said.
Polling began at 7 am in Shopian and Pulwama districts and in Ladakh Parliamentary constituency spread over two districts of Leh and Kargil, the officials said.
The officials said while polling would end at 6 pm in Ladakh Parliamentary constituency, it would end at 4 pm in Shopian and Pulwama districts as the Election Commission has curtailed the polling duration for Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency by two hours following a request from the state police.
All arrangements have been put in place for the smooth conduct of polls in these two constituencies going to polls in the last phase of Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, Congress state president Ghulam Ahmad Mir, former Jammu and Kashmir High Court judge and National Conference candidate Hasnain Masood, BJP”s Sofi Yousuf and Zaffar Ali of the People”s Conference are among the 18 candidates in fray from the Anantnag seat.
Candidates in fray for the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat are Rigzin Spalbar of Indian National Congress (INC), Jamyang Tsering Namgyal of BJP and Asgar Ali Karbalai and Sajjad Hussain – both independents.
Officials said stringent and elaborate security arrangements have been put in place in Shopian and Pulwama districts in the restive south Kashmir region to ensure smooth conduct of polling especially.
A multi-layered security set-up has been put in place as part of an elaborate security plan for protection of polling booths, handling of law and order problems and thwarting designs of anti-national elements to disrupt the polls.
Adequate number of security personnel, along with their mobile bunkers, have been placed in the two districts, they said.
The twin districts of Pulwama and Shopian are spread over six assembly segments comprising Tral, Pampore, Pulwama, Rajpora, Wachi and Shopian.
As many as 695 polling stations have been established across the districts for smooth conduct of elections, the officials said, adding all of them are either hypersensitive or sensitive and a massive security layer has been thrown around polling stations, many of which have been clubbed.
They said these south Kashmir districts have 522,530 electors including 271,127 males, 250,735 females, 657 service electors and 11 transgender voters.
Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency is spread over four districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama with 16 assembly segments. The Lok Sabha polls to this constituency are being held in three phases due to security reasons.
Anantnag district went to polls on 23 April, while voting in Kulgam district took place on 29 April.
The Ladakh Parliamentary constituency comprises two districts of Leh and Kargil. The Kargil district consists of two assembly segments Kargil and Zanskar while Leh district includes Nubra and Leh assembly segments, the officials said.
The Ladakh Lok Sabha constituency has an electoral strength of 174,618 voters – 86752 males, 85,064 females, 2,799 are service voters and 3 transgender voters.
559 polling stations have been set up across the constituency for the smooth conduct of electoral exercise, the officials said.
The Ladakh parliamentary constituency and the two districts of Anantnag constituency have a total electoral strength of 697,148 voters including 357,879 males, 335,799 females, 3,456 service voters and 14 transgender voters, the officials said.