Record Number Of Candidates In J-K Polls

8 December 2008
The Hindu

Srinagar: Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir, which have been synonymous with breaking records as far as number of contestants is concerned, have not only broken the previous ones in the state but also created many this time. With over 1,300 candidates in fray for the 87-member House, the 2008 assembly election has witnessed an increase of nearly 100 per cent in the number of contestants as against that of the last polls held in 2002. This year's election also recorded the highest number of female contestants, national parties, state parties, independents and even former chief ministers in multi-cornered contests. Assembly elections of 2002, described as a historic landmark by both the Centre and the state for the large number of contestants, had 706 candidates a record at that time. This year, the record was shattered with the number of candidates increasing by leaps and bounds. In the 1996 elections, which were held after a gap of nine years due to eruption of militancy in early 1990s, 541 politicians took part in the democratic process despite the militants' threat. The increase in the number of contestants during the elections over that of the 1987 polls was marginal. The difference in the number of candidates in 1987 and 1983 polls, when 515 and 511 candidates were in the fray respectively, was also negligible.