Poll fever runs high as rebels fight party nominees in Rajouri

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Rajouri, Nov 20 (UNI) Election fever is sweeping the border district of Rajouri as rival candidates join the race for the J &K Legislative Assembly.

After the first phase Assembly elections in neighbouring Poonch constituencies, political fever has shifted to bordering towns of Rajouri which goes to polls on November 23.

Political parties and independent candidates have pooled in all their efforts to woo voters in the four Assembly constituencies -- Rajouri, Darhal, Kalakote and Nowshera -- of the district.

However, the rebels have become a pain in the neck for political parties.

Barring Nowshera, rest three constituencies in the district are witnessing rebels openly opposing party nominees.

In Rajouri constituency, the sitting MLA of National Conference (NC) is in the fray on party ticket but facing stiff opposition from his own party rebel Choudhary Talib, a former Member Parliament.

On the other hand, the Congress candidates Shahbir Hussain Khan is getting a tough fight from his own party rebel Chaudhary Qamar Hussain, who lost the 2002 poll from here to the National Conference (NC) candidate, Aslam Khan.

Same is with the People's Democratic Party (PDP), which had got remarkable support in the Valley during 2002 assembly elections. PDP rebel Sharif Tariq is openly opposing the party candidate Master Tassaduq.

In this multi-faceted contest, the BJP is also trying to make its presence felt while an Independent candidate Shahjad Khan is also pulling crowds, particularly youths in the constituency.

In Darhal segment, Congress nominee Puran Singh, the MLA in the dissolved Assembly, is facing stiff opposition from Independent Iqbal Malik while PDP rebel Choudhary Maqsood is opposing party's candidate Choudhary Zulfikar Ali.

Kalakote segment is no different, as Congress rebel, Ashok Sharma, sitting MLC, is fighting against party nominee A G Kohli.

Against 337 polling stations in 2002 assembly election in Rajouri district, total 388 polling stations have been set up this time for 353,457 voters, including 170,928 female.

Of total 388 polling stations, 86 have been established in Nowshera while 95, 124 and 83 are located in Darhal, Rajouri and Kalakote Assembly segments respectively.

Eighty-one polling stations have been declared as hyper-sensitive in the district while 166 as sensitive.

UNI VJ RP RAI0945

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