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LS Polls-2024 | Srinagar gears up for May 13 showdown

03:55 AM May 09, 2024 IST | MUKEET AKMALI
ls polls 2024   srinagar gears up for may 13 showdown
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Srinagar, May 8: The high-stakes Srinagar parliamentary constituency is gearing up for an intense electoral showdown on May 13, with a staggering 17.4 lakh voters, including 8.7 lakh women, eagerly awaiting to exercise their franchise.

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Spanning five districts of Kashmir, the Srinagar constituency has emerged as a veritable battleground, with a massive 17,43,845 electorates poised to decide the fate of the candidates.

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Notably, over 2 lakh voters, aged between 18 and 20, will be exercising their franchise for the first time, injecting fresh dynamics into the electoral landscape and potentially influencing the outcome.

According to official figures, the electorate comprises 8,73,426 male voters, 8,70,368 female voters, and 51 transgender individuals, underscoring the diverse representation in the democratic process.

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The high-stakes contest has attracted a diverse array of candidates from various political parties and independent groups, each vying to capture the imagination of the electorate with their respective agendas and promises.

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Among the prominent contenders are Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi from the National Conference (NC) and Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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The J&K Apni Party has fielded Muhammad Ashraf Mir, while Amir Bhat is representing the Democratic Progressive Azad Party.

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Other notable candidates include Hakikat Singh from the J&K National Panthers Party (BHIM), Rubina Akhter from the Loktantrik Party, and a host of independent candidates including Muhammad Yusuf Bhat, Younis Ahmad Mir, Amin Dar, Javeed Ahmad Wani, Jibran Firdous Dar, Jahangir Ahmad Sheikh, Riyaz Ahmad Bhat, Sajad Ahmad Dar, Shahnaz Hussain Shah, Sheeban Ashai, Sayim Mustafa, Ghulam Ahmad Wani, Fayaz Ahmad Butt, Qazi Ashraf, Mirza Sajad Hussain Beigh, Nisar Ahmad Ahangar, Waheeda Tabasum, and Waseem Hassan Sheikh.

As the campaign trail intensifies, the candidates are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to woo voters, with a diverse range of promises and agendas being put forth.

From addressing local developmental issues to tackling broader regional concerns, the battle for Srinagar is shaping up to be a closely watched contest.

As per the Election Commission of India’s data, 2135 polling stations have been designated across the five districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal, Budgam, Pulwama, and Shopian.

“We are fully prepared to conduct free and fair polling at all 2135 stations. Adequate security arrangements are also in place,” said an official, underscoring the authorities’ commitment to ensuring a smooth electoral process.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, NC’s Farooq Abdullah emerged victorious, securing 1,06,596 votes. However, the tides had turned in 2014 when Tariq Hameed Karra of the PDP emerged victorious with 1,57,923 votes, defeating the then runner-up, Farooq Abdullah.

Jammu and Kashmir is set to witness its first major electoral battle since it was bifurcated and downgraded to the status of union territory months after the general elections in 2019.

J&K has a total of five Lok Sabha seats, three of which are currently held by the NC and two by the BJP.

J&K has been under central rule since the fall of the PDP-BJP government in June 2018, with the last assembly polls held in 2014.

A significant development since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, was the delimitation exercise completed in May 2022 as part of the J&K Reorganisation Act, which revised the boundaries of 90 assembly and five parliamentary constituencies.

Srinagar constituency has been a bastion of the NC, with the party securing the seat 12 times out of 15 parliamentary elections since 1947.

The party faced defeat only once, in 2014, when the PDP candidate Tariq Hameed Karra emerged victorious over his rival, Farooq Abdullah.

With the stage set for a nail-biting electoral clash, all eyes are on the voters of Srinagar as they prepare to exercise their democratic rights and shape the future course of governance in J&K.

The outcome of this high-stakes battle will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the region's political landscape and the aspirations of its diverse populace.

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