Arrangements for peaceful, fair polling finalised in Kupwara

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Kupwara, Nov 29: Arrangements are in place for the conduct of free, fair and peaceful polling in five assembly segments of this frontier district, where 3,41,946 voters will exercise their democratic right tomorrow in the third of the even-phase polling.

As the weather was dry and good, the poll parties to different far-flung and remote areas were dispatched by road yesterday, official sources told UNI.

They said majority of these polling parties have already reached their respective destination, while others will make it today.

After heavy snowfall during the intervening night of November 13 and 14, the authorities had decided to operate helicopter service for taking poll parties to cut off areas.

However, the snow had completely melted and all roads are open, they said.

Yesterday, leaders of different political parties, including Rahul Gandhi of Congress, the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) addressed series of meetings in north Kashmir to woo voters in favour of their candidates.

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

The campaigning so far was by and large peaceful with outany report of major incident taking place, the contesting candidate still fear trouble.

Kupwara, surrounded by PoK borders from three sides, was a hub of militants in 90s as the (militants) used these routes to infiltrate into this side from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) The town witnessed massive demonstrations during the Amarnath land row. Majority also attended different marches called by the Coordination Committee (CC) during August month, he said.

Leaders of different political parties and contesting candidate not ready to take any risk so far are conducting door-to-door campaigning in the towns, appealing people to vote for them.

There are 71 candidates, mostly independents in the fray from Karnah, Kupwara, Lolab, Handwara and Langate assembly segments in the district.

The authorities have set up 448 hyper sensitive and sensitive polling booth for an electorate of 3,41,946 voters, including 1,63,389 women would be set up in these constituencies.

They have appointed 11 Zonal and 31 Sectoral Magistrates to ensure free, fair and transparent polling in these assembly segments.

The Kupwara assembly segment will witness multi-corner contest as besides Shabnam Lone, there are 19 candidates seeking mandate. Ms Lone, daughter of late Hurriyat Leader Abdul Gani Lone, is seeking mandate alongwith 18 candidates--her two brothers--Bilal Gani Lone and Sajjad Gani Lone-- who are opposing election process in the state.

The National Conference (NC) candidate Mir Saifullah is seeking mandate to make it hattrick from the segment. Mr Saifullah represented the seat in 1996 and again in 2002 for the NC.

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

The Karnah constituency bordering with PoK, which remained cut off for winter months due to snowfall, will also witness multi-corner contest.

NC nominee Kafeel-ul-Rehman is seeking re-election to score a hattrick from the seat, he had won in 1996 and 2002. However, in 1987 the seat was won also by NC candidate Sharief uddin Shariq.

The other candidates in the fray included Raja Manzoor Ahmed (PDP), Syed Yasir Shah (congress), Javaid Ahmad (BSP) and Ms Syeeda Begum (BSP).

Qaiser Jamsheed Lone (NC), who represented the Lolab assembly segment in 2002, following the death of his father Mushtaq Ahmad Lone in a militant attack during electioneering. Mushtaq had represented the seat in 1996.

The NC candidate had to fight it out this time among others against Abdul Haq Khan (PDP), Abdul Rahim Wani (PDF), Farooq Ahmad Mir (congress) and Muneer Ahmad Khan (Panthers Party).

Similarly, the contestants from Handwara constituency are Muhammad Ramzan (NC), who lost in 2002 against an independent candidate, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Mir (PDP), Sofi Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din (Independent) seeking re-election and Shafiqa Begum (Panthers Party).

Also seeking re-election from Langate assembly segment Sharief- ud-Din Sharik (NC) is pitted among others against Muhammad Sultan Panditpuri (PDP), Muhammad Amin Khan (Congress), Bashir Ahmad Kar (PDF) and Javaid Ahmad Najar (Panthers Party).


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