Three years on, why the elections in Anantnag, J&K would be staggered
New Delhi, Mar 12: The Anantnag constituency in Jammu and Kashmir has been vacant since 2016. The seat held by Mehbooba Mufti was vacated after she became the chief minister of the state.
The elections to be held in this constituency would be staggered. The seat comprises four districts-Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama in South Kashmir. The polls will be held district wise.
Anantnag district will poll in the third phase of the elections on April 23, while Kulgam will go to polls in the fourth phase ie April 29. On May 6 in the fifth phase, the districts of Pulwama and Shopian would go to polls.
The decision to conduct the election in phases was taken on the basis of the feedback by the security forces. Security officials explained the difficulty in conducting the elections in Anantnag. The districts of Shopian and Pulwama are swarming with terrorists. The recent suicide strike at Pulwama was also cited as one of the reasons.
In the elections held in 2018, Anantnag recorded a voting percentage of 28 per cent. In the 2009 polls, this constituency had witnessed a polling percentage of 29.
After Mehbooba vacated the seat, the Election Commission of India had announced that by-polls would be held on April 12 2017. However violent protests that led to the death of seven civilians had led to the polls being postponed. The polls were deferred to May 2017, but owing to the deteriorating situation, the polls later deferred indefinitely.
During the various meetings, security officials said that conducting the elections here would be a great challenge. The challenge would not only be to deal with terrorists, but also to prevent any protests and ensure that there are no civilian casualties.