SRINAGAR — Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency having the highest number of candidates compared to other segments in Jammu and Kashmir is all set to witness an interesting showdown on May 13 when more than 17.4 lakh people are going to cast their ballots in five districts of the Valley.

Details gathered by the news agency KNO reveal that a total of 17,43,845 electorates are going to decide the fate of the 24 candidates in the fray for the Lok Sabha polls in the Srinagar seat.

In total, over two lahks are the first-time voters, who are in the age group of 18-20 and will be exercising their franchise for the first time on May 13, 2024. There are 8,73,426 males and 8,70,368 females while 51 others as transgender.

Officials said that the arrangements have been almost finalized for 2135 polling stations, set up at 1323 locations in 18 Assembly segments. The Assembly segments include 17-Kangan and 18-Ganderbal, 19-Hazratbal, 20-Khanyar, 21-Habbakadal, 22-Lal Chowk, 23-Chanapora, 24-Zadibal, 25-Eidgah 26-Central Shalteng, 29-Khansahib, 30-Char-i-Sharief, 31-Chadoora, 32-Pampore, 33-Tral, 34-Pulwama, 35-Rajpora and 37-Shopian.

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According to the details, 260 polling stations have been set up in two Assembly segments of Ganderbal, 929 polling stations have been set up at eight Assembly segments of Srinagar, 345 in three Assembly segments of Budgam, 479 polling stations in four Assembly segments of Pulwama and 122 polling stations in one Assembly segment of Shopian.

Pertinently, the Srinagar constituency has been the bastion of the National Conference (NC) as the candidates from the party have secured the seat 12 times so far out of 15 parliamentary elections since 1947. The party has faced a defeat once only so far in 2014 when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Tariq Hameed Karra defeated his rival, Dr Farooq Abdullah.

However, the party didn’t field its candidates in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections and also supported an independent candidate, S A Shamim in 1971. He was supported by “Mahaz Raishumari Front” headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.

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The constituency is expected to witness tough competition in the upcoming polls while the prominent candidates including National Conference’s Aga Syed Ruhulla Mehdi, PDP’s Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra and Apni Party’s Muhammad Ashraf Mir are vying for the seat.

Returning Officer (RO), Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency, Dr Bilal Mohi-ud-din said the arrangements are being finalized, saying that the webcasting and micro observers will be kept at all the polling stations.

He further stated that the voter awareness under the SVEEP campaign is in full swing and they are expecting a massive voter turnout in this election. “This time around, there is a great enthusiasm among the voters as laws passed in the parliament will be applicable on J&K as well,” he said.

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