18 J&K seats go to poll in penultimate phase on Sunday

Stage is set for the penultimate round of the five-phased polls in Jammu and Kashmir in which the fate of 182 candidates including two chief ministerial aspirants and Speaker of the Assembly will be sealed on Saturday.

Srinagar: Stage is set for the penultimate round of the five-phased polls in Jammu and Kashmir in which the fate of 182 candidates including two chief ministerial aspirants and Speaker of the Assembly will be sealed on Saturday.

Over 14.73 lakh voters including 7.05 lakh females are eligible to exercise their franchise at 1,890 polling stations in four districts of the state Srinagar, Anantnag, Shopian (Kashmir Valley) and Samba (Jammu region).

All eyes will be on the eight constituencies of Srinagar currently being represented by the National Conference (NC) as the voter turnout has generally remained low in the district along with some parts of Anantnag and Shopian.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is contesting from Sonwar Assembly segment of Srinagar after he chose not to contest from his family stronghold of Ganderbal constituency.

Omar was also in fray from Beerwah seat, in central Kashmir's Budgam district, which went to polls in the third phase.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron and party chief ministerial candidate Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is seeking re-election from Anantnag constituency in south Kashmir.

Depending on the eventual party positions in terms of seats won, either Omar or Sayeed is likely to be the front-runner for the chief minister's post.

Other prominent candidates who are in fray include J&K Assembly Speaker Mubarak Gul, Omar's close confidante Nasir Aslam Wani, Congress ministers Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed and Ghulam Ahmad Mir, and PDP's Abdul Rehman Veeri and Altaf Bukhari.

The campaign in the four districts was by and large peaceful but militants hurled a grenade at a police station in Anantnag town on Thursday, resulting in injuries to three policemen.  

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