Campaigning comes to close for 10-assembly segments in J

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Srinagar, Nov 15 (UNI) Barring a grenade attack, the campaigning in ten-assembly constituencies going to polls in the first phase on November 17, came to an end this evening.

Meanwhile, the authorities have dispatched poll staff and other material to polling stations set up in Bandipora, Leh, Kargil and Poonch districts for the voters.

The constituencies, going to polls in the first phase in the seven-stage elections in the state, include Gurez, Bandipora and Sonawari in Kashmir valley, Leh, Kargil, Zanaskar and Nobra in Ladakh and Surankote, Mendhar and Poonch-Haveli in Jammu region.

The campaigning started in a very low key note with contesting parties and candidates holding only workers meetings, fearing attacks by anti-poll campaigners in three-assembly segments of Bandipora district.

However, the impact of the anti-poll campaigners was minimised after almost entire senior and second rank leadership of separatist organisations were taken into custody and others threatened by police and security agencies to stay away from these rallies or face action.

Encouraged by the authorities action, the contesting parties and candidates managed to hold a number of though small public meetings.

Yesterday, militants hurled a hand grenade at Jamia Kadeem at Bandipora, targeting security forces. However, it missed the intended target and exploded without causing any damage.

This was the only violence reported from the three constituencies in the Bandipora district.

The Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) candidate from Bandipora Nizam Uddin Bhat held a number of meetings in far flung and remote areas of the constituency where the impact of poll boycott was almost nil.

However, he could manage to hold some small meetings in the main town where youths were up in arms against the polls.

Senior PDP leaders yesterday addressed a few election meetings despite a snowfall and cold.

The National Conference (NC) patron Dr Farooq Abdullah also addressed an election meeting in Sonawari constituency.

Awami League (AL) candidate from Sonawari Imtiyaz Ahmad Parray, son of late counter-insurgent leader and MLA from the same segment Mohammad Yousuf Parray alias Kuka Parray, also hold some meetings, including one in the house of his sister at Wangipora.

Not a single senior leader from any political party could visit Gurez in favour of their candidates in the constituency where two to five feet of snowfall was recorded since November 13 evening.

Interestingly, candidates of some national parties, who hardly had any footing in these constituencies, also organised small meetings of their workers. BJP candidate from Bandipora Shamasuddin Khan also organised a meeting in his favour.

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