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Polling in Srinagar LS seat on Monday, BJP not contesting

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NewsDrum Desk
New Update

Srinagar, May 12 (PTI) In the first parliamentary polls since the abrogation of Article 370, nearly 17.48 lakh people in Kashmir's Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency will on Monday decide the fate of 24 candidates trying their luck in the seat.

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While the BJP may not be contesting any of the three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir, the party is confident that the elections in the Valley will end the domination of the National Conference and People's Democratic Party in the region.

Supported by the India bloc, the National Conference has fielded influential Shia leader and former minister Aga Ruhullah Mehdi while the PDP has named its youth unit president Waheed Para as the candidate.

Even though the Srinagar seat is expected to witness a virtually head-on contest between Mehdi and Para, Apni Party's Mohammad Ashraf Mir and DPAP's Amir Ahmad Bhat are also in the fray along with 20 others, including two women.

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Whoever emerges victorious, will be going to Parliament for the first time.

The voter turnout in the redrawn Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, following the delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir in 2022, will be keenly watched as most of the areas under the seat had previously witnessed low polling percentages due to boycott calls given by the separatists.

To encourage people to exercise their franchise, district election officers in the constituency organised various outreach programmes, used audio, visual and print medium and also held street plays and sports events.

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Officials said all arrangements have been put in place for Monday's polling.

"A total of 17,47,810 voters have been enrolled in phase IV, including 8,75,938 men, 8,71,808 women and 64 third-gender voters. There are around 11,682 persons with disability and 705 voters above the age of 100 years," they said.

As many as 2,135 polling stations have been set up across Srinagar, Ganderbal, Pulwama and parts of Budgam and Shopian districts where polling will be held. Twenty-six special polling stations have been set up for migrant voters of Kashmir Division with 21 in Jammu, four in Delhi and one in Udhampur District.

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"In total, more than 8,500 polling staff, including reserve staff, will be deployed on duty on polling day. Voting will take place from 7 am to 6 pm," an official said.

They said 20 polling booths will be managed entirely by women, 18 by specially-abled persons and 17 by youths. Also, there will be 21 green polling stations to spread messages about environmental concerns.

All the polling stations will have CCTV cameras for live webcasting to control rooms set up at the districts and the CEO's office.

"There are a few polling stations which fall in communication shadow areas. Suitable alternative arrangements by providing satellite phones, wireless sets and special runners have been put in place around those polling stations," an official said. PTI MIJ NSD NSD

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