J&Kpolls: Political leaders criss-cross the state for campaigningSrinagar: Campaigning for the first phase of the five-phased Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir is in full swing as the top leaders of various political parties are criss-crossing 15 constituencies which will go to
Srinagar: Campaigning for the first phase of the five-phased Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir is in full swing as the top leaders of various political parties are criss-crossing 15 constituencies which will go to polls later this month.
The electorate in the 15 constituencies - spread over six districts across all the three regions of the state - will exercise their franchise in the first phase. All the major political parties in the state - National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Congress and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) -- are busy with the electioneering in the three regions of the state - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
The political leaders have to hop from one region to the other as the people in five constituencies in Kashmir Valley, all the four constituencies in Ladakh region and six in Jammu division will exercise in their franchise on November 25. Interestingly, BJP, which is hoping to achieve its ‘Mission 44 plus' - the magical mark in the 87-member Legislative Assembly, for the first time is focusing on Kashmir as party general secretary Ram Madhav has visited the Valley several times since the elections were announced.
Winning some seats in the Valley and Ladakh region, along with a majority of 37 seats in Jammu division, would be important for the party's prospects and its dream of having its government in the state for the first time ever. Though BJP has not started an aggressive campaign on the ground, the party leaders, including top leaders from Delhi, are busy in developing a strategy for increasing their chances of opening an account in the Valley, where, so far, the party has not won any seat.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the star campaigner of the ruling National Conference (NC), is also travelling to different regions of the state for campaigning.
With the party facing a tough time in the absence of its president and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, the campaigning has largely been left to Omar, who kick-started it from the Valley by addressing gatherings in north Kashmir. Farooq is currently undergoing treatment in London and will not be able to take part in the poll process in any way.
Omar addressed gatherings in Beerwah - the constituency where from he is contesting but goes to polls in the third phase, then moved to Bandipora assembly segment. The NC working president then travelled to Jammu region and campaigned for his party candidates in Nagrota and various areas of Banihal assembly segment for three days.
Omar will next go to Ladakh region for campaigning, following which he would return to the Valley to canvass for the candidates in other constituencies here. Similarly, the leadership of opposition PDP has also been travelling to many constituencies in both Kashmir and Jammu regions, particularly to Chenab Valley where the party sees the prospects of an electoral gain this time around. Both PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his daughter and party president Mehbooba Mufti have been actively campaigning in Jammu and Kashmir and addressed many rallies in north and south Kashmir, as well as in Chenab Valley where all the six seats of Kishtwar, Inderwal, Doda, Bhaderwah, Ramban and Banihal go to polls in the first phase.
Congress leaders Ambika Soni, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Saif-ud-din and others started their campaign in Jammu region and then travelled to address rallies in north Kashmir.