ELECTION TALK: PHASE I – 15 Constituencies, 123 Candidates, 1051642 Voters
The stage is set for Phase 1 of J&K General Assembly Elections 2014 which will decide the fate of 123 candidates on the 25th of November. These 123 also consist of 12 sitting MLAs including seven ministers who will fight it out on Tuesday in all the three regions of the state. In a total of 15 constituencies, the candidates are contesting Phase 1 in six segments of Chenab valley, all four seats of Ladakh region and five seats of Bandipora and Ganderbal districts.
Among the 123 candidates contesting, seven dignitaries are also anticipating a good vote share in their favour tomorrow, including Abdul Majeed Wani from Doda, Urban Development Minister Rigzin Jora from Leh, Higher Education Minister Mohammad Akbar Lone from Sonawari, Forests Minister Mian Altaf from Kangan, Minister of State for Home Sajjad Kitchloo from Kishtwar, Minister of State for Power Viqar Rasool Wani from Banihal and Minister of State or Animal and Sheep Husbandry Nazir Ahmad Gurez contesting from Gurez who has been the winner in the previous Assembly Elections as well.
Of the 15 seats for the Legislative Assembly going to polls on the 25th , National Conference holds eight seats, Congress holds six and PDP has a share of only one seat and BJP has no seat share in Phase 1. Despite having no MLA from the 15 seats of Phase I, BJP engaged the residents of the constituencies in impressive rallies. BJP grabbed a good vote bank in the Lok Sabha elections in all six segments of Chenab Valley and three out of four seats in Ladakh region and the party is further expecting a good favourable share this time.
Chief Minister and National Conference working President Omar Abdullah’s Assembly constituency, Ganderbal is also going to polls tomorrow but he is not contesting the Ganderbal seat this time having shifted to Sonawar and Beerwah. Sitting MLAs Nizam-ud-din Bhat from Bandipora, Congress Legislature Party leader Mohammad Shareif Niaz contesting from Bhaderwah and Ghulam Mohammad Saroori from Inderwal are also in the fray in Phase 1 of the Elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned in Kishtwar in a huge rally in Kishtwar assuring the residents of concrete development in the state and Amit Shah addressed rallies in Ramban and Banihal. Union Home Minister and BJP leader Rajnath Singh also held campaigns in Kishtwar, bhaderwah and Leh while Union Ministers Kiren Rijiju and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvo also campaigned extensively in Leh and Kargil .
Sonia Gandhi also addressed rallies in Chanderkoot and Bandipora. Chief Minister Omar abdullah, PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and President Mehbooba Mufti as well as leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi azad also held extensive rallies for the 1st phase.
BJP is eyeing majority in Chenab valley as well as one in Ladakh as well. During the election meetings and road shows held immense enthusiasm witnessed among the voters and an increased voter turn out is expected this time as the involvement barely showed any impact of the boycott call by separatists in the valley. The lowest number of candidates contesting is in Leh with only two candidates with more zeal towards BJP the highest number of contestants as 13 in three constituencies, namely, Bhaderwah, Ganderbal and Banihal.