Srinagar: The stage is set for the bypolls to the prestigious Srinagar Lok Sabha seat on Sunday with adequate security arrangements being made, even as militants and miscreants tried to scare the electorate.
Nine candidates are in the fray for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat where more than 1,500 polling stations have been set up for nearly 12.61 lakh electorate. All the polling stations have been declared as either sensitive or hyper-sensitive keeping in mind threats from various militant outfits and separatist groups, including the Hurriyat Conference, an election official said.
The seat fell vacant following resignation of PDP leader Tariq Hameed Karra, both from the Lower House of Parliament and his party, in protest against the "atrocities" on people during the agitation in the summer last year in the wake of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on 8 July.
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, who is the candidate of his party and the Congress jointly, will take on the ruling PDP's candidate Nazir Ahmad Khan in a virtual direct contest.
Abdullah tasted his first electoral defeat in his over 35-year-long political career when he lost to Karra in 2014 general elections. Karra, who has since joined the Congress, is now supporting the National Conference president in the bypolls.
Khan, on the other hand, joined the PDP after quitting the Congress in February and was announced the candidate by the ruling party for the bypolls. Voter turnout in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 polls was 26 per cent, slightly better than 25.55 per cent recorded in 2009 elections.
Director General of Police S P Vaid said security has been tightened and forces have been deployed in adequate number to thwart any attempt to disrupt the polls tomorrow. "We are completely geared up to meet any challenge from anti-social elements tomorrow," Vaid, who has been camping here, told PTI, adding clear instructions have been passed on to the security personnel to ensure smooth conduct of the election.
The disruptive elements have made several unsuccessful attempts to scare the voters from the elections and tried to target the polling staff. Unidentified persons last night tried to set ablaze a school building, designated as a polling station, in Narbal area of Budgam district but their attempt was foiled by police personnel posted there, the DGP said.
In another incident, a group of miscreants hurled stones at polling staff in Beerwah area of the district this morning but they were chased away by security forces using batons and firing tear smoke shells, a police official said.
In Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, which is going to polls on 12 April, militants opened fire at a police party which was patrolling the area near an election meeting being addressed by CAPD minister and PDP leader Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali, police said.
The police party retaliated the firing, forcing the militants to flee from the spot.
Updated Date: Apr 08, 2017 18:20 PM