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Business News/ Politics / News/  Kashmir News: Three-way fight in NC bastion Srinagar in phase 4 Lok Sabha polls today
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Kashmir News: Three-way fight in NC bastion Srinagar in phase 4 Lok Sabha polls today

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Srinagar, a stronghold of JKNC, will see a three-cornered fight on Monday. The NC, PDP, and Apni Party are contesting for the seat, with candidates focusing on issues like Article 370 abrogation and personal experiences.

Kashmir News: Three-way contest in NC bastion Srinagar in phase 4 Lok Sabha polls tomorrow (PTI)Premium
Kashmir News: Three-way contest in NC bastion Srinagar in phase 4 Lok Sabha polls tomorrow (PTI)

Srinagar –  one of the three seats of Kashmir Valley in the Union Territory of  J&K – is among the 96 constituencies going to polls in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024 on Monday, May 13. 

The Lok Sabha Elections 2024 are the first general elections in the erstwhile state since the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in August 2019 by the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP)-ruled centre. The abrogation stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status. The government also downgraded the erstwhile state into two Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh.

Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri –the other two seats of Kashmir Valley – will vote in the next two rounds of Lok Sabha polls.

NC Bastion

Established in 1962, the Srinagar parliamentary seat is spread over five districts, Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Pulwama and Shopian with 21 assembly segments with an electorate of over 17.4 lakh voters.

Srinagar has been a stronghold of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC), the regional satrap that has won 10 out of 13 elections held for the seat so far. Party president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah won the seat in 2019. Before Farooq, his son Omar Abdullah and mother Begum Akbar Jehan Abdullah have also represented the seat. 

Also Read: Also Read: ‘Can change friends, not neighbours’: Omar Abdullah invokes AB Vajpayee on Mani Shankar Aiyar's ‘respect Pak’ remark

The only national party to ever win the Srinagar seat is Congress. Ghulam Mohammad Mir Magami of the Congress party won from Srinagar in 1996. Over the years, other parties have also started making in roads in the seat. In 2014, Tariq Hameed Karra of the JK People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won the seat. 

This poll season, Srinagar witnessed a high-octane campaign, even in old city areas, after decades. With no boycott calls this time, the voter turnout is expected to improve this time. . The seat recorded 14.4 per cent voter turnout in 2019.

Three-Cornered Fight

In 2024, the NC, trying to retain the seat, is facing fight from PDP and Apni Party candidates. 

The NC has fielded former cabinet member and Shia cleric Aga Ruhullah from the seat. Ruhullah, who is also getting support from the Congress and the Awami National Conference, has been a vocal critic of the abrogation of Article 370. In fact, his campaign has been focused on returning the dignity of the people lost due to abrogation of Article 370 in 2019.  

Also Read: Kashmir News: ‘Return of dignity snatched by Article 370 is my concern,’ NC's Srinagar candidate Aga Ruhullah

The Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP has fielded its president of its youth wing, Waheed Parra from the seat. Parra’s campaign has focused on three-year incarceration after he was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2020 in two terror cases. 

Led by former education minister Altaf Bukhari, JK Apni Party (AP) has fielded former minister, Mohammad Ashraf Mir for the Srinagar seat. The AP candidate is backed by Sajad Lone’s JK People’s Conference (PC). 

BJP not in the fray

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not fielded any candidate in three Lok Sabha seats of Kashmir for the first time in about three decades. 

The NC and PDP have called AP and PC as BJP ‘proxies.’ NC vice president Omar Abdullah is contesting from Baramulla while PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is a candidate from Anantnag-Rajouri seat.

Also Read:  Kashmir News: In first Lok Sabha election post Article 370 scrapping, BJP not in the fray in 3 Valley seats. 5 points

Both NC and PDP are INDIA bloc partners but have decided to contest elections to three Kashmir seats separately. The two parties supported Congress candidates in both the seats of Jammu, though. The BJP’s decision to skip the electoral battle in Kashmir came after the NC and the PDP decided to contest separately.

Elaborate Arrangements

Around 2,135 polling stations have been set up for the Srinagar seat. Of these 1650 are critical with elaborate security arrangements. Among the five districts in the seat, areas of Srinagar has 925 polling stations of which 873 have been classified as critical. 

Officials told local newspapers that stringent security measures, including increased surveillance and deployment of additional forces, have been put in place to ensure smooth conduct of elections.

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Published: 12 May 2024, 07:51 AM IST
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