Tight security for civic polls in J&K

Candidates provided cover following threat from militants; police urge people to come out and vote
Amid threats from militants and boycott calls by separatist groups and the two main regional parties, polling will be held for 422 of the 1,145 wards in the first phase of urban local bodies elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday. A total of 1,204 candidates are in the fray. Unlike the situation in the Valley, the mood is upbeat in Jammu. Nearly 40,000 additional security personnel have been deployed in 149 wards in volatile districts of Kulgam and Anantnag in south Kashmir, Budgam in central Kashmir, and Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara in north Kashmir. Bullet-proof bunkers have been set up on all main roads across the Valley to stop fidayeen (suicide) attacks by militants.
“All arrangements are in place to ensure the free, fair, transparent and peaceful conduct of the elections. No restrictions will be imposed anywhere in the Kashmir Valley. People should come out to vote without any fear,” Director-General Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said. Kashmir, have already been declared elected unopposed for the first phase. In Kulgam, where over 20 local militants were killed this year, 13 candidates, mostly from the BJP, won all 21 wards uncontested. In Central Kashmir’s 34 wards, 26 candidates are in the fray and 24 candidates have won uncontested. In Anantnag, another militancy-dominated district in south Kashmir, 28 wards are going to the polls, 25 candidates are contesting and 17 wards have been won uncontested chiefly by BJP candidates. In Kargil and Leh, 69 candidates are contesting 26 wards. In Jammu city, 447 candidates — many of them Independents — will contest 75 wards. “The BJP and the Congress are facing a threat from Independents. The BJP is facing anti-incumbency and the Congress is battling with its image,” said Rajiv Mankotia of Jammu city. Elections will be held in 93 wards of Rajouri and Poonch.
Source :  https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/civic-polls-begin-in-jk-today/article25152292.ece

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