SRI NAGAR: The campaigning for fifth and the last phase of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections ended on Thursday with alleged Congress workers attacking the convoy of cricketer-turned-politician and BJP MP Navjot Sidhu in Jammu.
Twenty seats spread over three districts of the Jammu province -- Rajouri (4), Kathua(5) and Jammu (11)-- will go to the polls on Saturday. While the BJP currently represents 11 of these seats, the Congress represents five. Of the rest, the National Conference has two seats whereas the PDP and an independent have one seat each.
The elections for 67 seats of the 87-member Assembly have been held in four phases so far. The voters will now seal the fate of four Congress ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, and one minister from the National Conference. Several former ministers and some ex-MPs are also in the fray.
The Deputy Chief Minister is seeking a fourth term from the Chhamb constituency while the three other Congress ministers -- Sham Lal Sharma, Raman Bhalla and Manohar Lal Sharma -- are seeking third terms from the Akhnoor, Gandhi Nagar and Billawar segments respectively. In all the seats, the fight is between the BJP and others. The saffron party is riding on the Modi wave, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several Union ministers, top party leaders and Bollywood stars had campaigned in favour of party candidates in the province. All the election rallies addressed by the Prime Minister had witnessed heavy crowds.
While senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad led the party’s election campaign, party president Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders also addressed election rallies in the region. The star campaigners for the National Conference and the PDP were Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed respectively. Meanwhile, Sidhu’s convoy was attacked by stone-pelters during his campaign for the party candidate in Jammu’s Gandhi Nagar, Kavinder Gupta. The MP then cancelled his rally.
About 40 Sikhs who were protesting against Sidhu’s alleged objectionable remarks about their holy book pelted stones at the convoy in the Bhor Camp area of Chatha in Satwari, police said. They said the driver of Sidhu’s vehicle and three cops had sustained injuries in the stone pelting.