Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls from Nov 17 (Lead)

October 19th, 2008 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) Ending the uncertainty over elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the Election Commission Sunday announced seven-phased polls in the troubled state, from Nov 17 to Dec 24. Counting will be held Dec 28.Almost a week after announcing the dates for polls in the five states of Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan, the poll panel announced the dates for Jammu and Kashmir, which has been under Governor’s rule since Jul 10. The six months of Governor’s rule are to end Jan 10, 2009.

Congress leader and Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz said the party is “fully prepared” for the elections.

The polls will be held in 87 assembly constituencies. Seven of the seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes.

The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately.

“There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, churches, temples or other places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda,” the election commission said in a statement.

The 10 assembly constituencies going to polls in Phase-I Nov 17 are: Gurez, Bandipora, Sonawari, Nobra, Leh, Kargil, Zanskar, Surankote, Mendhar, Poonch-Haveli.

The six constituencies going to polls in Phase-II Nov 23 are: Kangan, Ganderbal, Nowshara, Darhal, Rajouri, Kalakote.

The five assembly constituencies going to polls in Phase-III Nov 30 are: Karnah, Kupwara, Lolab, Handwara, Langate.

The 18 constituencies going to polls in Phase-IV Dec 7 are: Uri, Rafiabad, Sopore, Sangrama, Baramulla, Gulmarg, Pattan, Chadoora, Badgam, Beerwah, Khansahib, Chrar-i-Sharief, Gulabgarh, Reasi, Gool Arnas, Udhampur, Chenani SC, Ramnagar.

The 11 constituencies going to polls in Phase-V Dec 13 are: Tral, Pampore, Pulwama, Rajpora, Wachi, Shopian, Bani, Basohli, Kathua, Billawar, Hiranagar SC.

The 16 seats going to polls in Phase-VI Dec 17 are : Noorabad, Kulgam, Home-shalibugh, Anantnag, Devsar, Doru, Kokernag, Shangus, Bijbehara, Pahalgam, Kishtwar, Inderwal, Doda, Bhaderwah, Ramban SC, Banihal.

In the last phase, the 21 constituencies going to polls on Dec 24 are: Hazratbal, Zadibal, Idgah, Khanyar, Habbakada, Amirakadal, Sonawar, Batamaloo, - all in Srinagar; Samba SC, Vijaypur, Nagrota, Gandhinagar, Jammu East, Jammu West, Bishnah, R.S.Pura SC, Suchetgarh, Marh, Raipur Domana SC, Akhnoor, Chhamb SC.

Counting of votes shall be Dec 28 and completion of the elections will be by Dec 31.

According to the revised electoral rolls, the state has 6,538,111 voters. Voter identity cards have been issued to 68 percent of the electorate and the rest of the electorate has been asked to get their id cards, the poll panel said.

The poll panel has made arrangements for electronic voting machines at all the polling stations.

The central government has assured of adequate central police forces during the polls to ensure free and fair polls and the security of electors and candidates.

Apart from central police forces, state armed police from other states will also be requisitioned. The Commission will also deploy observers to watch over the poll process.

The Commission has instructed that no official associated with the elections or police officer of the rank of Sub Inspector and above shall be allowed to continue in his home district.

Also, officials including police officials who have completed three years in a district during last four years will be transferred out of that district during the polls. The officials charged with lapses during any previous election work will not be deputed for poll duty.

There are 8,109 polling stations in the state. For physically challenged people, polling stations would be located on the ground floor and ramps provided, as far as possible.

The poll body has issued guidelines for video coverage of all critical events during the election process and polling at all vulnerable polling booths. Digital cameras will also be deployed inside the booths wherever needed.

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