'All Arrangements Put In Place For First Phase Of Polls In J-K'

15 November 2008
The Hindu

Jammu: Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir B R Sharma on Saturday said that all arrangements, including security and contingency plan, for conducting the first phase of polls in the state have been completed. Preparations have been completed in 10 constituencies of Bandipora, Kargil, Leh and Poonch districts of the state, so that polls could be held in a free, fair and transparent manner on November 17, Sharma said addressing a press conference at the newly set up media centre here. About the contingency plan in the wake of snowfall, the CEO said five copter sorties each have been done in Leh and Kargil districts to airlift the polling parties as well the polling material on Saturday. He said that one polling station has been set up in Leh district for only 5 voters and the polling personnel deployed outnumber the electorate. Sharma exuded confidence that in light of the improved weather conditions, polling process is expected to go on in a smooth manner in all the 25 polling stations which have been established within the Gurez valley. About the first phase of polls, the CEO revealed that as compared to the 2002 assembly elections when only 40 candidates were in fray this time as many as 102 candidates are contesting, which is a clear indication of the greater people's involvement in the poll process.