Shopian, Pulwama to go for polls on Slain Hizb commander’s anniversary | KNO

Shopian, Pulwama to go for polls on Slain Hizb commander’s anniversary | KNO

Kashmir News Observer (KNO)

Pulwama, May 05 (KNO) : On the first death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sadam Padder, the most restive part of South kashmir is going for polls tomorrow. To the the security challenges in Shopian and Pulwama which is considered as the hot bed of militancy, polling staff to about three dozen polling stations was air lifted.  The challenges have forced the authorities to club hundreds of polling stations and as per official records Zainapora sub division which consists of about 100 villages has just 24 polling stations. As per reports from different areas of the twin districts,  there are some places where polling booths for about 7 to 8 villages havd been kept at single place.  As per locals to KNO, Campaign in twin districts remained confined mainly to security zones and both districts were lacking luster of elections. The recent gunfight at Imam sahib in which three local militants were killed has worsened the conditions and security challenges have risen, Official told KNO. Political observers believe that with the recent gunfight and Sadam Padder's death anniversary,  who was killed along with his four associates including Dr Rafi from Ganderbal in Badigam area of shopian on May 6 last year,  the polling percentage in twin districts will be very low.  It would be good to see if twin districts will witness just five percent polling given the conditions and threats,  said a senior leader of regional political party of condition of anonymity. However Police says that recent gunfight will have least impact on the polling percentage.  The security arrangements are well at every poling centre and we are hopeful that polling will be incident free, said an official. Meanwhile, sources said that youth pelted stones on vehicles carrying polling staff in many other parts of the twin districts of Pulwama and Shopian. Reports reaching to KNO that youth pelted stones on vechiles carrying polling staff in Tral area in which one employee was injured. Reports said that clashes erupted in Batgund Tral and Shopian area after youth pelted stones on government forces which was retaliated by tear smoke and sound shells.  The twin districts of Pulwama and Shopian are spread over six Assembly segments — Tral, Pampore, Pulwama, Rajpora, Wachi and Shopian. On the last leg of the three-phased elections for Anantnag constituency, the two southern Kashmir districts Pulwama and Shopian are going for polls on May 6 (tomorrow) . As many as 695 polling stations have been established across the districts for the smooth conduct of elections. These south Kashmir districts have 522,530 electors including 271,127 males, 250,735 females, 657 service electors (646 males and 11 females) and 11 transgender voters. Pulwama district has 351,314 electors including 181,259 males, 169,508 females, 541 service electors (533 male and eight female) and six transgender voters 450 polling stations have been set up across the district. Similarly, Shopian district has 171,216 electors including  89,868 males, 81,227 females, 116 service electors (113 male and three female) and five transgender voters. The EC has set up 245 polling stations across the district.  The candidates in the fray are Hasnain Masoodi of Jammu Kashmir National Conference, Sofi Yousuf of Bhartiya Janta Party, Ghulam Ahmad Mir of Indian National Congress, Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, Nisar Ahmad Wani of Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers Party, Ch. Zaffar Ali of Jammu Kashmir People’s Conference, Sanjay Kumar Dhar of Manav Adhikar Party, Surinder Singh of Pragati Sheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) and Imtiyaz Ahmad Rather, Ridwana Sanam, Riyaz Ahmad Bhat, Zubair Masoodi, Shams Khwaja, Ali Mohammad Wani, Ghulam Mohammad Wani, Kyasir Ahmed Sheikh, Manzoor Ahmad Khan and Mirza Sajad Hussain Beigh, all independents. The polling will  begin at 7 a.m. and end at 4 pm on Monday. The  analysis and speculation apart,  it would be very interesting to see how things pan out tomorrow.(KNO)