High-voltage campaigning for Srinagar Lok Sabha Seat comes to an end; Polling on May 13, ‘Voters enthusiastic, stage set for first major contest since Article 370' Revocation’

Ishtiyaq Kar

Srinagar, May 11 (KNS): The intense electoral showdown for the Srinagar parliamentary constituency in Jammu and Kashmir reached its peak as the high-energy campaigning came to an end on Saturday evening.
The upcoming polling in the Srinagar Parliamentary seat marks the first electoral contest in the Kashmir valley since the abrogation of Article 370.

This time, voters are enthusiastic about casting their ballots for their favorite candidates, with the Election Commission having finalized all arrangements for the voting process.

In the upcoming fourth phase of voting, a total of 96 Lok Sabha Constituencies across 9 states and a Union Territory will cast their ballots on Monday.

This includes 13 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 11 in Maharashtra, 8 each in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, 5 in Bihar, 4 each in Jharkhand and Odisha, and one seat in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Additionally, Andhra Pradesh, with its 25 parliamentary seats, and Telangana, with 17 seats, will both go to polls in a single phase during this period.

Scheduled for May 13, the polling in the Srinagar constituency places the fate of 24 contestants in the hands of over 17.4 lakh voters.

The competition, lacking candidates from both the BJP and the Congress, predominantly centers around the National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and J&K Apni Party.

News agency Kashmir News Service (KNS) reported that in the twilight hours leading to the campaign's end, the streets of Srinagar witnessed rare late-evening door-to-door canvassing, vibrant musical events at rallies, and the ceaseless movement of political vehicles, all vying for the attention and support of the electorate.
Throughout the rigorous campaigning period, political parties left no stone unturned to sway voters in their favor, each presenting themselves as the optimal choice.

Notably, over 2.0 lakh first-time voters, aged between 18-20, are set to participate in the electoral process, adding a fresh dynamic to the democratic exercise.

As preparations near completion, officials have confirmed arrangements for 2135 polling stations across 1323 locations within 18 Assembly Segments. The historical significance of the Srinagar constituency, traditionally a bastion of the National Conference, adds weight to the impending contest.

With prominent figures such as Aga Syed Ruhulla Mehdi from the National Conference, Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra from the PDP, and Muhammad Ashraf Mir from the Apni Party in the fray, the electoral landscape promises a fierce competition.

Dr. Bilal Mohi-ud-din, the Returning Officer for the Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency, expressed optimism regarding voter turnout, citing heightened enthusiasm among the electorate.

“This time around, there is great enthusiasm among the voters,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, reports indicate that 52,100 Kashmiri migrant voters across the country are eligible to cast their votes in Srinagar constituency, further enriching the democratic process.

The political discourse leading up to the elections has been marked by acerbic exchanges between erstwhile allies turned adversaries. Accusations of being BJP proxies have been flung between the NC and the PDP, even as the BJP opted out of fielding candidates in Kashmir constituencies, awaiting what they term as the 'winning of hearts and minds.'

In this politically charged atmosphere, as the countdown to polling day begins, all eyes are on Srinagar, where the democratic process promises to shape the future trajectory of the constituency as well as the kashmir region.(KNS) 

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