Battle lines drawn in Ganderbal-Kangan segments

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Srinagar, Nov 9 (UNI) Battle lines in Ganderbal and Kangan Assembly segments were drawn after three candidates withdrew their candidature on the last day of withdrawal yesterday, leaving 22 aspirants, including National Conference (NC) president Omar Abdullah in the fray.

Election observers were appointed for both the constituencies where a high level meeting was held to discuss measures for peaceful, fair and free elections in the second phase on November 23.

According to election office, 12 candidates will contest for Ganderbal constituency while 10 candidates would try their fortune in Kangan constituency.

The NC president Omar, who lost to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Qazi Mohammad Afzal in 2002 polls, is again pitted against him (Qazi) besides eight other candidates.

This was for the first time since the NC started taking part in the polls in 1977 in the state after Indira-Sheikh accord in 1975, the NC lost the seat.

The seat was represented by Omar's father Dr Farooq Abdullah and his grand father Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah since 1977 to 1996.

Dr Abdullah, a NC chief ministerial candidate, is this time contesting from Hazratbal segment.

Gujjar leader Altaf Ahmed of NC is again trying his luck from Kangan constituency where he is facing nine candidates.

Mr Omar said that he was punished by the voters who voted him out last time. Now I am confident that they will give me a chance to work for them in the constituency.

Mr Vikram Kapur has been appointed as Election Observer for Ganderbal while Mr Mohammad Iftikhar-ud-Din has been appointed for Kangan constituency.

The observers visited Ganderbal and discussed election arrangements with District Election Officer, Ganderbal, Abdul Majeed Khanday at a meeting attended by Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers of both the segments which are going for polls on November 23.

The District Election Officer, while giving the details about the poll arrangements being made for holding free and fair elections in the district, said that 179 polling stations, including 36 auxiliary, are being set up for 1,35, 517 voters of the district. He said out of total 179 polling stations, 105 have been declared hyper sensitive and 74 sensitive.

The observers also reviewed security arrangements for the purpose.

UNI BAS KK BD1125

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