SRI NAGAR: Polling for 16 Jammu & Kashmir Assembly seats will be held on Tuesday in the third phase of the elections, which will decide the fate of 145 candidates, including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, his uncle Mustafa Kamal and three ministers.
Seven of these constituencies are in Baramulla district, five in Budgam district and four in Pulwama district. Of these, the PDP represents nine in the outgoing Assembly while the National Conference represents four. The Congress, the Peoples Democratic Front and the Democratic Party Nationalist have one seat each.
Constituencies such as Sopore, Baramulla, Pulwama and Tral have a strong presence of separatists.
Besides the Beerwah seat in Budgam, Omar is contesting the Sonawar seat, which will go to the polls in the fourth phase.
The fate of 144 others, including ministers Abdur Rahim Rather (NC), Taj Mohi-ud-Din (Congress) and Ghulam Hassan Mir (independent), Rajya Sabha member Ghulam Nabi Ratanpuri, former Rajya Sabha member Mohammad Shafi Uri, senior NC leader Kamal, economist and PDP candidate Haseeb Drabu, Congress spokesperson Salman Soz will also be sealed in this phase.
Authorities have deployed police and over 450 paramilitary companies for poll duties in the three districts to ensure the peaceful conduct of the elections. Security men were deployed at the polling stations and other sensitive areas a few days in advance. “Police and CRPF men have set up temporary checkpoints outside the polling stations and the cops have intensified patrolling,” a police officer said.
The first two phases of the election, on November 25 and December 2, had witnessed 71.28 percent and 72.1 percent voter turnouts respectively.
After the high voter turnout in the second phase, militants carried out a series of strikes in the Valley, including one on an Army camp in Mohura, Uri.