Air force pressed into poll duty in Jammu and Kashmir

May 12th, 2009 - 10:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, May 12 (IANS) The Indian Air Force pressed its helicopters into service to take poll officials and material to snow-bound areas in two Jammu and Kashmir parliamentary constituencies where voting will be held Wednesday in the last round of the general elections.
According to state chief electoral officer B.R. Sharma, men and material were airlifted by MI-17 and Cheetah choppers of the IAF to 97 polling stations in Gurez, Karnah, Keran and Macchil in Baramulla and Zanskar and Nobra in Ladakh.

“Four MI-17 and five Cheetah helicopters besides state-owned chopper have been pressed into service. At least 56 sorties have been made to position poll parties and election-related material at these polling stations,” Sharma said.

He said air sorties to Gurez and Zanskar had to be made because the road to these two areas is still closed due to heavy snow.

Baramulla is slated for a triangular contest between separatist leader Sajjad Gani Lone, who joined the polls for the first time, ruling National Conference candidate Sharief-ud-Din Shariq and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s Mohammed Dilawar Mir.

In Ladakh the main contest is between the Congress candidate P. Namgyal and Ghulam Hassan Khan, an independent.

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