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More than 83 per cent of the 1,600 polling stations in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency in Kashmir have been designated as hypersensitive or sensitive by the election authorities as they are apprehensive of violence during polling in these areas.
“Of the 1,615 polling stations in the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, 690 polling stations have been designated as hypersensitive as there is apprehension of violence in these polling station areas ahead or during the polling,” an election official said.
He said the categorisation of hypersensitive polling stations has been done on the basis of possibility of militancy-related violence or apprehension of clashes between rival political workers.
Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency – spread over four districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Puilwama in south Kashmir – is going to polls on April 24 in the third of the five phases for Jammu and Kashmir.
The official said 659 polling stations have been designated as sensitive on these parameters.
“Adequate police and paramilitary forces shall be deployed in areas declared as hypersensitive or sensitive to maintain law and order and ensure peaceful election process,” he said.
The official said only 13 per cent – 210 polling stations – in the four districts of the Lok Sabha constituency have been designated as normal.
All the polling stations in militancy-infested Shopian district, where separatists still wield some influence, have been declared as hypersensitive while in nearby Pulwama district all the 408 polling stations have been designated either as hypersensitive or sensitive.
Anantnag Assembly segment is the only other constituent of the Lok Sabha seat where no polling station has been designated as normal. Of 102 polling stations in Anantnag Assembly seat, 52 are hypersensitive while remaining have been designated as sensitive.
Surprisingly, nearby Kulgam district – which is also seen a stronghold of separatist Jamaat-e-Islami – has the highest number of normal polling stations at 177, which is 45 per cent of the total 389 polling stations.
Only 63 polling stations have been designated as hypersensitive in the district which only 16 per cent of the total and lowest in the four districts.
Election Commission yesterday issued notification for the Anantnag parliamentary constituency.According to the notification, the last date for filing of nominations is April 5 while the scrutiny of nomination papers will be conducted on April 7. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is April 9.
The Anantnag Lok Sabha seat has 12.72 lakh voters including 6,01,688 female voters who are eligible to cast their votes at 1,615 polling stations to be set up in the constituency.
Ruling National Conference candidate and sitting Lok Sabha member from Anantnag Mehboob Beg will lock horns with opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti. Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Tanveer Maqbool Dar, son of former Union Minister of state for Home Affairs Mohammad Maqbool Dar from the constituency.