SRINAGAR: Amid tight security measures and expectation of high voter turnout, over 15 lakhs voters will seal fate of 175 candidates including four sitting ministers and separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajjad Gani Lone in second phase of polling for Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Tuesday.
18 Assembly seats including nine from Valley and nine from Jammu region will go to poll in second phase of polling tomorrow. In Kashmir, Karnah, Kupwara, Lolab, Handwara and Langate seats in border district of Kupwara and Noorabad, Kulgam, Home-Shalibugh and Devsar in South Kashmir will go to polls. The nine constituencies going to polls in Jammu region are Gulabgarh, Reasi, Gool Arnas, Udhampur, Chenani, Ramnagar, Surankote, Mendhar and Poonch Haveli.
In all the nine constituencies in Jammu, the battle is between BJP and other parties while in nine constituencies in the Valley poll battle is between ruling National Conference, opposition PDP and Congress.
The Handwara constituency in Kupwara will remain in focus as separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajad Gani Lone is making his electoral debut in Assembly elections after unsuccessfully contesting the Lok Sabha polls in 2009. His party, Peoples Conference, which has a strong influence in entire Kupwara district, has also fielded candidates in four other seats of the district besides the one contested by Sajjad.
According to election official, 15.35 lakh electorate are eligible to exercise their right to franchise in 18 constituencies spread over five districts. Of them 8.12 lakh are men voters and 7.22 lakh women voters.
2181 polling stations have been set up in the 18 constituencies with highest no of 173 polling booths in Reasi seat in Reasi district of Jammu province.
Reasi seat has also highest number of 1,08,084 voters while Karnah constituency in Kupwara district has lowest 32,794 electorates.
The electorate will decide the fate of 175 candidates including four ministers, three from National Conference and another from Congress.
Of the 18 Assembly seats going to polls, NC represents seven in Assembly followed by three each by PDP and Congress, National Panthers Party two, BJP CPIM, independent represent one seat each.
Five of the contesting fighting elections have not lost the polls from their seats since 1996. Harshdev Singh (NPP) has been winning from Ramnagar, Abdul Gani Malik (NC) from Gulabgarh, M Y Tarigami (CPM) Kulgam, Kafeel-ur-Rehman (NC) Karnah and Saifullah Mir (NC) Kupwara have been retaining their respective seats since 1996.
The election officials are expecting high turnout in all the 18 constituencies after heavy turnout of 71.28 per cent in phase of polling in 15 constituencies including five in the Valley.
The voters in all five Assembly seats in Valley, which went to polls in the first phase on November 25, exercised their franchise in large numbers.
Political parties and observers are hopeful that the trend of high voter turnout will continue in remaining four phases of polling also.
Authorities have deployed 220 additional companies of paramilitary CRPF in North Kashmir’s Kupwara and South Kashmir’s Kulgam district, which will be going to polls tomorrow. The security bandobast has been further intensified after killing of a NC sarpanch by militants in South Kashmir last evening.