Over 26,000 displaced Kashmiri Pandits to vote at 34 polling stations for Anantnag-Rajouri LS constituency

JAMMU — More than 26,000 displaced Kashmiri Pandit voters from across the country are eligible to vote at 34 polling stations in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag constituency on Saturday.

This marks the conclusion of voting in the Union Territory, with polling already completed in the other four constituencies.

The newly created Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat, covering the south Kashmir-Pir Panjal region, will cover the districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Rajouri and Poonch.

The polling parties and security forces are being dispatched for special polling stations set up for the Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Udhampur districts.

“Over 26,000 Kashmiri migrant voters will cast their ballots at special polling stations set up in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi tomorrow. All arrangements have been made for free and fair polling tomorrow,” Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner Dr Arvind Karwani told PTI.

Dr Karwani reviewed the arrangements along with election officers at 21 polling booths and 8 auxiliary ones in Jammu, one in Udhampur and four in Delhi.

Assistant Electoral Returning Officer (AERO) Dr Riaz Ahmed urged the Kashmiri migrant voters to participate in the election.

“All necessary facilities, including water and shelter, have been arranged. The Election Commission has also provided a pick-and-drop facility for the voters, available from 6 am to 6 pm, focusing on areas with higher concentrations of migrants,” the AERO said.

The authorities, amid tight security, handed over polling materials, including EVMs, to polling parties at Women’s College in Jammu. The security forces and election parties are being deployed to their respective stations, the officials said.

The Anantnag constituency is preparing for a competitive electoral showdown with nearly 18.36 lakh voters, including 9.02 lakh women, set to vote at 2,338 polling stations.

Twenty candidates are vying for the seat, with the main contest between PDP chief and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and prominent Gujjar leader and former minister Mian Altaf Ahmad of the National Conference (NC).

Apni Party’s Zafar Iqbal Manhas, backed by the BJP in the Pir Panjal region, hopes to challenge both the PDP and the NC.

The Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP), led by former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, has fielded Mohammad Saleem Parray for the seat. — (PTI)