Over 33 lakh electors to vote today

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 4/11/2019 4:16:44 PM

# Direct BJP-Cong contest in Jammu # Baramulla to witness multi-cornered contest # All necessary arrangements in place: officials

JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Apr 10: The Jammu and Baramulla Lok Sabha constituencies in the state are going to polls in the first phase tomorrow. More than 33 lakh voters will decide the fate of 33 candidates in these two constituencies.
Elaborate security and other related arrangements have been made in both the constituencies, officials said. While there is a direct contest between BJP and Congress in Jammu-Poonch constituency, Baramulla constituency is going to witness a multi-cornered contest amid a shutdown call by separatists. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman Hurriyat Conference (G). Some militant groups have also called for an election boycott.
In Jammu-Poonch constituency, 20,05,730 voters including 10,40,876 males and 9,64,834 females will cast their votes at 2,740 polling stations to decide the political fortune of 24 candidates.
The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Jugal Kishore is seeking re-election from the seat while the Congress has fielded its senior vice president and former minister Raman Bhalla who is supported by the National Conference (NC) directly. Initially being perceived to be one-sided contest in favour of BJP going by its last election’s victory margin and recent ULB and Panchayat poll results, the constituency is witnessing a fierce contest between Sharma and Bhalla following the decision of PDP to not to field any candidate to prevent division of secular votes.
The constituency, spread over four districts of Jammu, Samba, Poonch and Rajouri and covering 20 assembly segments, was won by Jugal Kishore in the 2014 general elections, defeating veteran Congress leader and two-time MP Madan Lal Sharma by a margin of over 2.57 lakh votes. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) too has decided to support the Congress. Besides the BJP and the Congress candidates, the voting in the constituency will also seal the fate of two-time minister and two-time MP Choudhary Lal Singh, chief of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan as well as National Panthers Party patron Bhim Singh. They, too, are likely to eat into the vote-bank of BJP, which is already worried about its prospects in the wake of the combined strength of its opponents, who have managed to float an undeclared sort of “Gathbandhan”, managing support from different individual communities including Sikhs, OBCs etc.
"We have put in place all the necessary arrangements, including security setup. we are committed to hold free and fair polls," a poll official said. There are 244 polling stations falling along the International Border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC) in Samba, Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch districts of the constituency and contingency has been put in place in case there is shelling from Pakistan side, the official added.
Compared to Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha constituencies, Baramulla constituency has repeatedly recorded higher poll percentage in past. Baramulla constituency comprises Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts.
Voting is scheduled tomorrow in Jammu and Baramulla Lok Sabha constituencies from 7 AM to 6 PM.
“All necessary preparations and security arrangements are in place for the smooth conduct of the elections,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shailender Kumar told media.
Baramulla has 13,12,148 voters and nine candidates are in the fray. 1,749 polling stations have been set up there.
The constituency will witness a contest among Mohammad Akbar Lone of the National Conference, Raja Aijaz Ali of the Peoples Conference (PC), Abdul Qayoom Wani of the PDP and the independent candidate, Engineer Rashid. BJP has fielded M M War and Congress Haji Farooq Mir from there.
The constituency has 7,953 persons with disability (PwD) voters and 157 VVIP (Voter Verification and Information Programme) electors. For the smooth conduct of elections, the authorities have established 1,749 polling stations at 1,387 locations in the Baramulla constituency.



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