Jammu, Nov 15 : The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir, B. R. Sharma, on Saturday said that all arrangements for conducting the first phase of polls on November 17 in ten constituencies of Bandipora, Kargil, Leh and Poonch districts have been completed.
The campaigning for the first phase of elections concluded today.
While briefing the media about the contingency plan in light of snowfall, the CEO said that five helicopter sorties each have been made in Leh and Kargil districts to airlift the polling parties as well as the polling material today.
He further said that similarly 80 polling personnel have already been airlifted in Gurez constituency while 16 more personnel would be lifted on Sunday, adding that polling personnel will reach their respective destinations by Sunday afternoon.
Sharma said that one polling station has been set up in Leh district for only five voters and the polling personnel deployed there outnumber the electorate.
The CEO exuded confidence that in light of the improved weather conditions, polling process is expected to go on in a smooth manner in all the 25 polling stations, which have been established within the Gurez valley.
While briefing about the sequence of events about the first phase of polls, the CEO revealed that as compared to the 2002 Assembly elections when only 40 candidates were in fray for these 10 constituencies, 102 candidates are contesting this time, which is a clear indicator of the greater people's involvement in the poll process.
In reply to a question about the security arrangements for Poonch district, inspector General of Police (IGP) Jammu Zone K. Rajendra said all measures for pre-poll and poll-related activities have been made three weeks in advance. So far no militancy-related violence has taken place in the district, he said adding that all the candidates campaigned smoothly in their respective constituencies.
It is notable to mention here that 10 constituencies going to polls in the first phase, 233 rallies and public meetings were held during the campaign. These include 177 in Bandipora, 46 in Poonch, seven in Kargil and three in Leh district. By Tahir Nadeem Khan