After successful first two phases, attention shifts to 3rd phase

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Srinagar, Nov 24 (UNI) Now that the first two phases of polling in the Jammu and Kashmir were held peacefully with higher voter turnout, the focus of different political parties and anti-poll orgnisations has shifted to frontier district of Kupwara where five Assembly segments are going to polls on November 30 in the third phase.

The constituencies going to polls included Karnah, Kupwara, Lolab, Handwara and Langate in district Kupwara, once a hub of militants.

There are 71 candidates, mostly independents, including Shabnam Lone, daughter of late Hurriyat Leader Abdul Gani Lone. Shabnam, a Supreme Court Advocate, contesting from Kupwara segment, represented by her father last in 1987 , is facing contesting candidates, besides her two brothers--Bilal Gani Lone and Sajjad Gani Lone-- who are opposing elections in the state.

The authorities have decided to set up 448--hyper sensitive and sensitive-- polling booths for an electorate of 3,41,946 voters, including 1,63,389 women.

To ensure free, fair and transparent polling in these assembly segments the authorities have appointed 11 zones and 31 Sectoral Magistrates.

Leaders of different political parties addressed dozens of poll meetings in favour of their candidates since the election notification was issued on November 4. However, the campaigning picked up after the last date of withdrawal on November 14.

The Kupwara Assembly segment will witness multi-corner contest as besides Shabnam Lone, there are 19 candidates seeking mandate.

The National Conference (NC) will fight to retain the seat for third consecutive time. Mir Saifullah represented the seat in 1996 and again in 2002 for NC and is contesting again for a hattrick.

The People's Democratic Party (PDP) has put up Fayaz Ahmad Mir while Choudhary Salam-u-Din has been fielded by Congress.

Interestingly, almost all national and state political parties, including Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Panthers Party, Janta Party, Lok Janshakti Party, National United Front, Awami National Conference, RJD and Democratic party have also put up their candidates.

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