The Bold Voice of J&K

Crucial stage

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Electioneering enters the crucial stage in Jammu and Kashmir with the State going for third phase of polling which would be the deciding round for many bigwigs of the game and opening fortunes for many to step into the shoes of governance. The three constituencies to go into poll are Budgam, Pulwama and Baramulla in which 13.69 lakh electors, including 6.51 lakh women, will decide the fate of 144 candidates among whom are the Chief Minister, three of his Cabinet colleagues and 10 other sitting MLAs. Ahead of this crucial round State has seen multiple militant attacks a move seen as disruptive created by Pakistan and its elements that were shaken by the massive voter turnout in the first two phases of polling.  The third phase also holds the key to power for the opposition PDP that won nine of the 16 seats last time. Among the many decisions, the Omar government did not extend the lease to the army for using Tosamaidan meadows, falling in the Beerwah Constituency, as a firing practice range following widespread opposition from the locals. He also ensured that the army cleared the area of the littered shells, which had claimed more than 60 lives in the past two decades. Omar, who is seeking a second term in the Assembly, faces a stiff challenge from sitting PDP MLA Mohammad Shafi Wani and Congress nominee Nazir Ahmad Khan, whose father Sarfaraz Khan had won from Beerwah in 2002 elections as a PDP candidate. PDP represents nine of the 16 seats while the ruling NC holds only four. Congress and Peoples Democratic Front won one seat each in the last polls while one seat went to Independent. The other constituency that will be keenly watched is Chrar-e-Sharief where Finance Minister and NC leader Abdul Rahim Rather is seeking a seventh consecutive term. As the Valley would be polling for the third phase, Jharkhand too would be in its third leg of five-phase Assembly election where voters will decide the fate of 289 candidates, including former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, ex-Speaker C. P Singh and three ministers.  Both the states have seen high voter turn-over despite violence hitting them. What is to be seen is will both states have high-voter turnout this time also after these incidents?

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