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Time for candidates’ popularity litmus test has finally arrived

02:27 AM May 13, 2024 IST | ZAHOOR MALIK
time for candidates’ popularity litmus test has finally arrived
JKNC Vice President, Omar Abdullah with Congress leader Vikar Rasool during a rally on April 15 in Khari. (Representational Image)
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Srinagar, May 12: After several weeks of hectic campaigning, the time for contesting candidates’ popularity litmus test has finally arrived in the Srinagar parliamentary constituency.

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The fate of the candidates will be sealed in Electronic Voting Machines ( EVMs) on the polling day tomorrow. This marks the beginning of the polling for the three Lok Sabha constituencies in Kashmir. After tomorrow's polling in Srinagar, the Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri constituencies will later go to polls on May 20 and May 25 respectively.

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Srinagar constituency witnessed large-scale campaigning by the candidates and their parties. Election rallies and road shows were important part and so were the door-to-door campaigns. Going by the high-scale campaigning, the voter turnout is expected to be higher this time than the previous parliamentary polls.

So far as the electoral boundaries are concerned, the Srinagar constituency is not the same as it used to be in the past polls. During the delimitation exercise, several areas of Budgam district were delinked from the constituency and linked with the Baramulla constituency. Likewise, the parts of south Kashmir which were earlier part of the Anantnag parliamentary constituency were merged with the Srinagar constituency.

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The political parties had raised objections to the changing of boundaries of the constituency during delimitation. But the changes seem to have made the contest even more interesting. It is after a pretty long time that no member of the Abdullah family is in the fray in the Srinagar parliamentary constituency.

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Sitting MP Farooq Abdullah has decided not to contest this time for health reasons and Omar Abdullah is contesting from Baramulla constituency. In 1996 NC had not taken part in Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

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No major national-level party is contesting from the Srinagar constituency in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Only regional parties are in the electoral fray. BJP has announced support for like-minded parties in Kashmir, while Congress is supporting NC.

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This time NC has fielded Aga Ruhullah, PDP Waheed-u-Rehman Parra, Apni Party Mohammad Ashraf Mir and Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) Amir Ahmad Bhatt for Srinagar. Several other candidates are also in the fray. Peoples Conference (PC) has announced its support for the Apni Party candidate.

During the campaigning, the political parties tried their level best to woo the voters with a plea to vote for their candidates. Every party and its leaders worked hard by addressing several rallies or road shows almost every day. The huge presence of people in most of the rallies indicates a massive turnout of voters on polling day and subsequent pitched electoral battles among the candidates.

Will the NC be able to retain the seat this time also? Or the other parties will upset its apple cart?

On their part, the administration made elaborate arrangements during the campaigning by political parties in the constituency. Elaborate arrangements are also in place for tomorrow's polling. Authorities have been assuring a free and fair election. After tomorrow's polling in the Srinagar parliamentary constituency, the focus of campaigning by political parties will shift more towards the Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri constituencies.

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