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Papers filed amid fanfare in Jammu, tight security in Kashmir Valley

JAMMU/SRINAGAR

The filing of nomination papers by candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections has brought about a clear division between Jammu region and the troubled Kashmir Valley.

In Jammu division, the candidates of different political parties submitted their nominations amid traditional festivity and jubilation.

Candidates of Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress led processions of supporters to the Returning Officers in Jammu and Udhampur Lok Sabha seats.

Activists carried party flags and shouted slogans in favour of their candidates in both Jammu and Udhampur.

In the Valley, however, the focus of the political parties has remained on the security of their candidates during the filing process.

Voting for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat is scheduled on April 18.

In the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, the voting process has been scheduled on April 23, April 29 and May 6.

It is for the first time in the country’s electoral history that the voting process for one Lok Sabha seat is being held in three phases.

Voting in Baramulla was held on April 11.

Candidates were accompanied by more security personnel than their supporters during the nomination filing process.

For the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, the candidates include National Conference President and five-time Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah.

Abdullah is one of the most protected persons in the country. He has Z-plus security cover and his security is provided by commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG). No other politician in Jammu and Kashmir has NSG protection.

Abdullah filed his nomination papers when he was accompanied by some leaders of NC, but there was no road show as he went to the office of the district electoral officer.

Surrounded by a ring of security guards, Abdullah filed his papers.

Another former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, President of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), filed her nomination papers for Anantnag seat in a relatively subdued manner.

Mehbooba Mufti also carried a large contingent of security personnel when she went to file her papers.

In an advisory to various political parties, the state security department has asked them not to hold any roadshows during their election campaign.

Political leaders have been advised not to move out to hold rallies without prior information to District Magistrates of the areas they intend to visit.

Despite these restrictions, political leaders, especially of the National Conference, the PDP and the Peoples Conference of Sajad Lone have been holding election rallies that are well attended given the volatile security situation in the Valley.

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