Polling Begins In Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha Constituency

SRINAGAR: Polling began on Saturday morning in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency where 20 candidates, including former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, are in the fray, officials said.

Voting began at 7 am for the last electoral battle of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.

People were seen lining up outside the polling stations to exercise their franchise in some areas of the constituency, according to the officials.

The constituency is spread over 18 assembly segments in the five districts of Kulgam, Anantnag, Poonch, Shopian, and Rajouri.

Voting is scheduled to end at 6 pm.

More than 500 centenarians are among the 18.36 lakh voters eligible to exercise their franchise in this constituency, the officials said.

The number of eligible voters in the constituency is 18,36,576 — 9,33,647 males, 9,02,902 females and 27 from the third-gender category.

Around 18,000 differently abled people are eligible to cast their ballots, they added.

The Election Commission has set up 2,338 polling stations across the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency. Four election staff, including the presiding officer, will be stationed at every polling booth. In all, more than 9,000 polling staff, including reserves, will be deployed.

There are 19 border polling stations in Rajouri and Poonch.

Seventeen polling booths (“pink” polling stations) will be managed by women, 15 by differently-abled people and eight by youngsters. Also, there will be 15 “green” polling stations.

The Anantnag-Rajouri constituency has 20 candidates in the fray, including People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is hoping to return to Parliament following her defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Mufti is facing a tough challenge from prominent Gujjar leader and former minister Mian Altaf Ahmad, who is contesting as the National Conference (NC) candidate.

The Apni Party’s Zafar Iqbal Manhas will be hoping to turn the tables on both the PDP and the NC after he managed to get the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) support in the Pir Panjal region.

The Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) of former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has fielded Mohammad Saleem Parray from the seat.

The polling in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat was earlier scheduled for May 7 but was deferred by the EC due to inclement weather in the region. (PTI)

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