Campaigning ends for Srinagar, Udhampur LS seats

Jammu/Srinagar: Poll campaigning for the two Lok Sabha seats of Srinagar and Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) ended on Tuesday evening. The voting is scheduled for Thursday.

There are 12 candidates in the fray for the Srinagar seat, including National Conference (NC) President Farooq Abdullah, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Aga Syed Mohsin, Peoples Conference’s (PC) Irfan Raza Ansari and Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Khalid Jahangir.

The Congress has not fielded candidate against Abdullah who is seeking re-election from the constituency. The party of Abdullah, five-time Chief Minister of J&K NC’s star campaigner, has launched an aggressive campaigne, attacking the BJP for threatening to abrogate J&K’s special status and trying to divide the country.

Spread over the districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal and Badgam, the constituency has 15 voting segments and 12,90,318 voters who will vote at 1,716 polling stations.

In Udhampur, the main contest is between outgoing BJP MP Jitendra Singh and Vikramaditya Singh of the Congress. Both the NC and the PDP have not fielded candidate to consolidate secular vote in favour of Vikramaditya Singh, grandson of the J&K’s erstwhile Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh.

There are 10 other candidates in the race, including J&K National Panthers Party (JKNPP) leader Bhim Singh and BJP rebel Choudhary Lal Singh who has formed the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan to challenge the BJP.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a large rally in the Kathua district on Sunday to seek support for the BJP. Modi’s image has been the focal point of the BJP campaign in Udhampur.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who lost the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Udhampur to Jitendra Singh, has been spear-heading the Congress campaign in this constituency.

Hailing from Doda in the Jammu division, Azad is believed to have strong support in the Chenab Valley districts of Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban, that are part of the Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency. Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi are its other districts.

The constituency has 17 voting segments and 16,85,779 electorate, who will vote at 2,710 polling stations.