Today: Jun 19, 2024

Campaigning for LS polls for Anantnag-Rajouri LS seat concludes

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Over 18.36 lakh voters to decide fate of 20 candidates in fray for Anantnag-Rajouri seat

Srinagar: The high-pitch electioneering for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls ended in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday as the campaigning for the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency came to a close in the evening.

The newly carved out Lok Sabha seat in the south Kashmir-Pir Panjal region is scheduled to go to polls on Saturday, marking the conclusion of voting in Jammu and Kashmir as polling has already been held in the four other constituencies of the Union Territory.

The Anantnag-Rajouri constituency has 20 candidates in the fray, including People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is hoping to return to Parliament following her defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

With record-high polling in Srinagar and Baramulla, political observers feel that the south Kashmir constituency will also register a higher-than-expected voter turnout.

The aggregate turnout in the four Lok Sabha seats of Jammu and Kashmir that have already gone to polls was around 59 percent.

The polling in Anantnag-Rajouri was earlier scheduled for May 7 but was deferred by the Election Commission (EC) due to inclement weather in the region.

Authorities had received more than 2,200 applications from the contesting candidates and political parties, seeking permission for various electioneering activities.

While 1,920 applications for rallies, roadshows and meetings were approved, 303 pleas were rejected on various grounds.

Mufti is facing a tough challenge from prominent Gujjar leader and former minister Mian Altaf Ahmad, who is the National Conference (NC) candidate.

Apni Party’s Zafar Iqbal Manhas will be hoping to turn the table on both the PDP and the NC after he managed to get the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) support in the Pir Panjal region.

The Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) of former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has fielded Mohammad Saleem Parray from the seat.

According to poll authorities, the fate of the 20 candidates will be decided by more than 18.36 lakh voters of Anantnag-Rajouri.

A total of 18,36,576 voters are enrolled in the five districts of Kulgam, Anantnag, Poonch, Shopian and Rajouri of the parliamentary constituency, including 9,33,647 male and 9,02,902 female and 27 third-gender voters.

Around 18,000 differently-abled people and 540 people aged above 100 years are eligible to cast their ballots.

The EC has set up 2,338 polling stations across the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency. Four election staff, including the presiding officer, will be stationed in every polling booth. In all, more than 9,000 polling staff, including reserves, will be deployed.

There are 19 border polling stations in Rajouri and Poonch.

Polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm and before that, there shall be a mock poll in the presence of polling agents. The voting will continue after 6 pm if voters are found standing in queues outside polling booths.

Seventeen polling booths (“pink” polling stations) will be managed by women, 15 by differently-abled people and eight by youngsters. Also, there will be 15 “green” polling stations to spread the message about the environment.

The purpose behind these special polling stations is to spread awareness among certain sections of the society, such as women, differently-abled and first-time voters, to motivate them to come forward and exercise their right to vote.

All the polling stations in Anantnag-Rajouri will have CCTV cameras for live webcasting to the control rooms set up at the district and CEO office. The cameras will be positioned in such a way so that they do not violate the secrecy of vote.

There are a few polling stations that fall in communication-shadow areas. Suitable alternative arrangements have been put in place in such areas by providing satellite phones, wireless sets and special runners.

In order to facilitate the voters and also to increase voter turnout ratios, all voters have been provided with voter information slips with information like Polling Station name, date & time of poll, serial number of voter in the list, his/her full name, QR code but not the photograph of the voter. Hence, Voter Information Slips will not be allowed as proof of the identity of voters. Proof of identity will be any documents out of 12 documents, including EPIC. The BLO concerned has distributed 100 percent voter information slips.

The citizens can also view details of the Polling Station, Parliamentary Constituency, and get the contact details of the Booth Level Officer, Electoral Registration Officer among other services, through Voter Helpline App (VHA). This mobile app is available on the Google Play store and Apple App Store

The documents which can be used for voter’s identification in addition to Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), included Aadhaar Card, MGNREGA Job Card, Passbooks with photograph issued by Bank/Post Office, Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of the Ministry of Labour, Driving License, (vi) PAN Card, Smart Card issued by RGI under NPR, Indian Passport, Pension document with photograph, Service Identity Cards with photograph issued to employees by Central/State Govt./PSUs/Public Limited Companies, Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs, Unique Disability ID (UDID) Card, issued by M/o Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India.

It is pertinent to mention here that an EPIC card is NOT mandatory for voting. If some voter has misplaced his/ her EPIC card, any of the above mentioned documents can be used by him at the Polling Station.

More than 600 journalists and cameramen of print, electronic and social media platforms have been provided with passes to cover the polling without compromising secrecy of vote and without having any inconvenience to the poll process.

Voter Turnout App will be used to display estimated provisional voter turnout details of each Parliamentary Constituency entered by the RO. The media can also use the same application to capture estimated voter turnout data. Approximate voter turnout data of each phase of the elections will be displayed through this app.

There will be two hourly reporting of voting percentage from 9.00 am to the end of the poll. The concerned ARO and RO will share the data with the media accordingly. The updated figures shall also be placed in the voter turnout app. These figures are always subject to, normally upward correction as the final confirmed figures are collected after receiving the statutory forms from all Polling Stations. So till these final figures are known, figures on Voter Turnout App are to be always tentative.

In the entire Union Territory, from the date of announcement of elections, material/ cash of around Rs. 94.797 crore has been seized. Cash, liquor, drugs and other freebees have been seized by various enforcing departments. Major department-wise seizures included seizures by the Police Department valuing Rs 90.831 crore, Income Tax Department 42 lakh, Excise Department 1.01 crore and the Narcotics Control Bureau has seized drugs worth 2.32 crore respectively.

As per the latest instructions of Election Commission of India, Special Polling Stations have been established for Migrant Voters of Kashmir Division.

A total of 26 Special Polling Stations have been established with 21 polling stations in Jammu, 4 in Delhi, and 1 in Udhampur District respectively. Special Polling Station-wise extract voter list will be with BLOs.

KI News

Kashmir Images is an English language daily newspaper published from Srinagar (J&K), India. The newspaper is one of the largest circulated English dailies of Kashmir and its hard copies reach every nook and corner of Kashmir Valley besides Jammu and Ladakh region.

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