J and K gets more security cover for LC polls

With the high-profile campaigning for the Legislative Council elections ending on Saturday evening, authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have deployed additional security force to ensure incident free polls on Monday.

At least 33,544 village representatives will decide the fate of 37 candidates for the four vacancies in the Upper House of the state Legislature under Panchayti Raj quota.

Sources told Deccan Herald that in view of high threat perception to panches and sarpanches from militants, 20 companies of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force have been deployed for poll duty in Kashmir while seven have been deployed in Jammu.

A majority of police personnel from police stations and reserve battalions will be deployed at the booths and other vulnerable places on polling day, sources said.

They also added that all polling stations were sanitised on Sunday, a day ahead of voting to ensure deployment well in advance.

Minister of state for home, Nasir Aslam Wani said adequate security has been provided in and around polling booths at block headquarters.

“We are closely monitoring the security arrangements and want to ensure every voter exercises his franchise without any fear,” Wani said.

Panchayat polls were held in the state last year after a hiatus of more than three decades and this is for the first time after 1974 that elections to four seats of the LC from the quota of panchayat members are being held.

The latest elections will test the claims of ruling National Conference (NC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as to who enjoys more support among panchayat members particularly in Kashmir region where they boast of mass support.
Major political parties including NC and Congress, which are contesting the elections in alliance, PDP, BJP and National Panthers Party held high-pitched campaign across the state from November 19 to December 1.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah, state congress chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz, PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and party president Mehbooba Muft, campaigned for their candidates. Omar and Soz addressed joint rallies in Kashmir.

Counting of the votes will take place in Jammu and Srinagar on December 6 for two seats each.

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