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Countdown begins for final phase of polls in JK on Saturday


Jammu: Stage is set for the fifth and final leg of Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow in which several high-profile candidates, including Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, will try their luck in 20 seats spread over three districts of Jammu amid a strong security deployment.

After a record voter turnout in the previous four phases, particularly in Kashmir Valley, there are expectations of a high voter turnout in Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts in Jammu region as well.

Unfazed by the November 27 militant attack in Arnia border belt of Jammu district in which 12 people including five civilians and four militants were killed, high-pitched campaigning continued till last evening.

As many as 213 candidates, including Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Ministers Sham Lal Sharma, Raman Bhalla, Manohar Lal Sharma, Ajay Sadhotra, former MP and ministers Lal Singh, Talib Hussain (both BJP) and Jitendra Babu Singh and former Deputy Speaker Hyder Malik will be battling it out in this phase.

“All measures and arrangements have been put in place for tomorrow’s polls,” Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Division, Shant Manu told.

Manu said 400 companies of security personnel (each company as approximately 100 personnel) will be deployed for tomorrow’s polling apart from the regular deployment of police forces.

As many as 18,28,904 eligible voters, comprising 9,59,011 men and 8,69,891 women, are expected to exercise their franchise at 2,366 polling stations set up across the three border districts.

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