High-pitch campaigning for Jammu LS seat ends
Jammu: The high-pitch campaigning for the Jammu Lok Sabha seat ended Tuesday with top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, dashing the region to canvass for the party candidate to retain the seat.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also held three election rallies in different parts of Jammu region on Monday.
While the star campaigners were missing from the Congress, the party mostly banked on the services of their veteran leaders — former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and erstwhile ‘Sadre-e-Riyasat’ (president) and scion of Dogra dynasty Karan Singh.
The campaigning for the seat ended peacefully with no untoward incident reported from anywhere in the constituency, poll officials said.
However, the campaigning was a low-key affair along the line of Control (LoC), especially in the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch.
Ten people, including four security personnel, have been killed and nearly 45 others, mostly civilians, injured in the twin districts since India’s preemptive air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Balakot on February 26 in response to the February 14 Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel.
The Jammu parliamentary constituency, which has the highest number of 24 candidates among all the seats, is going to polls on April 11 and all arrangements have been put in place by the authorities to ensure peaceful voting.
The constituency, spread over four districts of Jammu, Samba, Poonch and Rajouri and covering 20 assembly segments, was won by BJP’s Jugal Kishore in the last general elections in 2014, defeating veteran Congress leader and two-time MP Madan Lal Sharma by a margin of over 2.57 lakh votes.
Kishore is facing a tough contest this time as the National Conference is extending support to Congress candidate and former minister Raman Bhalla, while the PDP has decided not to field any candidate from the Jammu region to ensure that the secular votes are not divided.
The Jammu parliamentary seat has the highest number of 20,05,730 lakh voters, including 9,64,834 women and 20 transgenders, officials said, adding 2,740 polling stations, including dozens near the LoC and the International Border (IB), have been set up for the polling.
The BJP has been aggressive in the campaigning, highlighting the Modi government’s resolve of “zero tolerance” against terrorism, action against Pakistan on the borders and deep inside the country, including the IAF strike on the terrorist camp.
Leaders of the party also highlighted tough action against the separatists, promised abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution and parting ways with its erstwhile coalition partner PDP over “discrimination” with the Jammu region besides the report card of the Modi government, including development activities and the policies for the upliftment of the poor.
The Congress leaders countered and accused the BJP of pushing the state to renewed crisis leading to heavy loss of life, including those of the security personnel guarding the borders and the hinterland, unfulfilled promises like providing two crore jobs to the youth, while assuring protection to the special constitutional status to the state.
Besides the BJP and the Congress candidates, the voting in the constituency will also seal the fate of Choudhary Lal Singh of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan and National Panthers Party patron Bhim Singh.
The prime minister addressed the election rally in support of Kishore in Akhnoor on March 28, the day when he started his campaign trail for the Lok Sabha elections across the country.
BJP president Amit Shah joined the election campaign in the state by addressing two rallies in Udhampur and Sunderbani in Rajouri district on April 3, while BJP general secretary Ram Madhav also hit the campaign trail in the state when he addressed two elections rallies in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri on Saturday.
Choudhary Lal Singh, who had twice won the Lok Sabha polls from the Udhampur seat on the Congress ticket before switching over to the BJP in 2014, was also seen aggressively campaigning across the region.
National Panthers party leaders also organised dozens of rallies across the region to garner support of the voters. (PTI)